In today’s Crain’s, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams highlights the fact that the construction unions that are loudly demanding that affordable housing developments hire their own members at a high prevailing wage scale, “…lack the rich diversity found in the communities around them.”
In the process, as we have pointed out on many occasions, affordable housing is not getting built because it is being held hostage-and, as Adams points out, the latest hostage taker is the governor:
“Last year, when Gov. Andrew Cuomo punted negotiations about requiring prevailing wages on 421-a projects to the Real Estate Board of New York and the Building and Construction Trades Council (talks that ultimately hit a brick wall), he did not merely put thousands of future affordable apartments at risk. He became the latest elected official to ignore an opportunity to reverse the distressing lack of local and minority representation on jobs done by the unionized building trades.”
As BNYC spokesperson Brad Gerstman pointed out earlier this year, union protectionism hurts the public interest:
“It is high time for all of our elected officials to get behind merit in the construction industry—to support legislation that promotes vigorous competition, safety oversight and diversity in the building labor force, not measures that protect the privileges of the few over the well-being of the many.”
The harsh reality is that merit based contractors are hiring the most diverse construction workforce in the city’s history-and much of this construction has been for building affordable housing that these firms can do more cheaply and efficiently. 421-A is a valuable tool for fulfilling Mayor de Blasio’s affordable housing dream. The city’s construction unions, with an assist from Albany’s top elected official, are turning that dream into a nightmare.
BuildingNYC is an association that represents those doing the majority of the building in NYC today, especially affordable housing. Comprised of workers across all sectors of the NYC construction industry, we seek to protect and advocate for the right to work in a safe, fair and equitable environment that promotes continued growth and success. For more information on BuildingNYC go to buildingnyc.org.