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.
While traditional union models of hiring continue to present barriers to entry for minority workers, merit shop (also known as open shop) offers an inclusive hiring model, giving a chance to anyone willing to work hard.
New York’s diverse communities of color have long lacked access to equal employment opportunities, but New York City’s building boom presents ample opportunity for all New Yorkers to gain access to meaningful education/training and employment.
We urge you to recognize the reality of today’s diverse construction industry and broaden your focus by providing more resources to train, employ and protect New Yorkers of color, regardless of whether or not they are part of a union.