Almost all of the reported legislative goals of the 2019 New York State budget passed— a plastic bag ban, congestion pricing, and a mansion tax. However, noticeably missing from this year’s budget was a prevailing wage expansion.
As an advocacy group for New York’s non-union, open shop workforce, the Construction Workforce Project (CWP) is reminding New Yorkers how any prevailing wage will sabotage hard-earned employment and housing opportunities.
Troy’s unemployment rate remains higher than the national average, and many residents are not seeing access to great job opportunities. Rather than address the problem, the legislature is currently considering a prevailing wage expansion that has the potential to exacerbate the situation and further hurt the city’s working families.
Open shop workers are the silent majority in New York’s construction workforce. In fact, approximately 70% of private developments in the city are now being built by these workers. And as the use of open shop expands, more New Yorkers of color are working more than ever before.
If there’s one thing that New Yorkers can agree on, it’s that we should always strive to create new jobs, not take them away. Amazon’s recent decision to withdraw its planned “HQ2” from Long Island City is an example of us failing on this front.
We at Construction Workforce Project firmly believe that longtime Brooklynites should benefit from the rapid pace of development, which can only truly happen if construction job opportunities are made available to local residents.
A recently announced diversity initiative by the Associated General Contractors of America is an encouraging step forward. However, open shop workers in New York City need much more support from our elected officials in order to achieve real gains for men and women of color in our industry.