Council member pushes prevailing wages bill as a construction safety issue (NY)

Would apply to projects receiving city money and are 50K sf or hold more than 50 housing units

January 26, 2017 05:10PM
By Kathryn Brenzel

Alongside a package of controversial construction safety bills, a City Council committee is scheduled to consider a measure that seeks to require prevailing wages on certain construction projects in the city.

The bill, first introduced by Queens Council member Elizabeth Crowley in April 2015, has been re-referred to the Committee on Housing and Buildings, and is scheduled for a hearing on Tuesday that will largely focus on construction safety measures. The proposed bill would apply to projects that receive financial assistance from the city, are larger than 50,000 square feet or, if a residential project, more than 50 units, and that don’t have a project labor agreement.

While her revived bill – which has 20 listed sponsors – doesn’t explicitly involve construction safety, Crowley says the proposed legislation will at least indirectly encourage it.

“If you’re an employer, and you’re obliged to pay the prevailing wage, my guess is that you’d want to employ someone who is trained and qualified through a state program,” Crowley said. In New York City, that likely means hiring union labor. (Before joining the City Council, Crowley was a member of a painter’s union.)

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