New laws would hurt minority workers, says Construction Alliance

The New York Construction Alliance (NYCA) has released the findings from a recent survey of the region’s open shop labor workforce that concludes nearly three quarters of New York City’s open shop construction workers are African-American or Hispanic.

The NYCA report also showed that three quarters of open shop workers surveyed live within the five boroughs.

The survey comes as the City Council considers new legislation that would exclude many open shop construction contractors and workers by establishing a mandate on apprenticeships.

The majority of apprenticeships in the city are operated by building trade unions.

NYCA’s survey includes data gathered during the summer of 2016 from more than 1,500 workers on 27 different NYCA-member construction sites of various sizes across the city.

The report specifically found that 52 percent of workers surveyed were Hispanic, 18 percent were African American and three percent were Asian. With regard to residency, 33 percent of workers surveyed live in Queens, 26 percent live in Brooklyn, nine percent live in the Bronx and eight percent live in Manhattan.

“Racial diversity, local hiring and a commitment to safety are what drive open shop construction in New York City,” said NYCA co-chairman Tom Nickel.

“Open shop contractors are proud to provide tens of thousands of jobs to hardworking New Yorkers from all five boroughs each year. City officials should join us in celebrating these achievements, and they should not hurt minority communities with legislation to exclude open shop minority workers and eliminate good jobs across the city.”

This week, the City Council introduced a package of legislation to improve construction safety on sites throughout New York City.

One particular piece of legislation, sponsored by Councilmembers Williams, Menchaca, Lancman, Crowley and Kallos, would mandate apprenticeships for construction projects over 10 stories tall.
Since the apprenticeship requirement is a virtual union mandate, this piece of legislation would exclude many of the open shop sector’s local, minority workers from new job opportunities, said NYCA in a press release announcing its survey.

In addition to achieving high rates of diversity and local hiring, NYCA said its members maintain a strong commitment to worksite safety.

All NYCA members commit to following established Environment, Health and Safety (EHS) procedures in construction operations to protect employees, clients, employers and the public.

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