As New York’s elected leaders consider the proposed 2021 budget, The Construction Workforce Project wishes to remind them who they work for and who we are as citizens of this great city. Before monumental decisions or great importance are made, its imporatnt to understand who the people of  New York City’s construction industry really are. To that end, we have sent the following to New York Governeor Andrew Cuomo, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, and Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins:

Dear Governor Cuomo, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, and Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins,

The Construction Workforce Project (CWP) is a 501©3 advocacy organization whose partners are community and faith-based groups, public housing associations, industry leaders, and other local stakeholders. We are driven to educate New York City constituents and other elected officials on the benefits of the open/ merit shop work for historically underrepresented multi-cultural communities in our region.

Open / merit shop workers are the silent majority in New York’s construction workforce. In fact, over 80% of major private projects in the city are now being built by these open / merit shop workers. As the use of open / merit shop workers expands, more New Yorkers of color are working than ever before. Your inclusion of a prevailing wage mandate in your proposed 2021 budget puts these workers at risk.

City-data shows that over 80% of private major construction work in New York City is now being done by open / merit shop workers – those who are not affiliated with a union. These projects employ a significant number of locally-based workers of color, many of whom have gained jobs in the open shop after being shut out of opportunities to join a union.

Today, I submit data that proves who works on New York’s open /merit shop construction sites and who exactly would be harmed by an expansion of prevailing wage in New York City and State. This current turnstile/worksite data is reflective of more than 130 private major projects across NYC and the five boroughs. It states that of the 14,000 workers on these open / merit shop job sites, 97% are minority workers, 95% are black and Latino, and all these workers live in the communities where they are working.

It is disappointing to see a progressive and forward-thinking governor such as yourself ignore such a significant portion of the workforce in New York City’s construction industry. These are New Yorkers who work every day to build careers and raise families – just like any union member – and they deserve your acknowledgment and respect. They also need your continued support – just like any union member – as they move forward in the industry.

The Construction Workforce Project


Here’s what you need to know about WHO works on New York’s open /merit shop construction sites and WHO exactly will be put out of work if prevailing wage is expanded.

On 130+ Private Major Projects throughout NYC / the Five Boroughs 14,000 Workers = 95% Minority Workers