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NYC Signs New PLA, Suggests Legislation

Thursday, August 20, 2020

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A new Project Labor Agreement has been announced between New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration and the city’s building trade unions, according to an announcement last week.

In addition to the PLA notice, de Blasio announced that he is also proposing state legislation that would require contractors working in the city to first hire low-income New Yorkers and those from areas with high poverty levels.

“During the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, we’re taking action to connect low-income New Yorkers to good jobs and even better futures,” said de Blasio.

“We’ll use the City’s purchasing power to address hiring disparities, expand opportunities and invest in our communities of color. Working together, we can build a fair and equitable future for all New Yorkers.”

Hiring Legislation

According to de Blasio, “This plan would provide an estimated 1,300 construction jobs for every $1 billion in construction for low-income communities leading to an estimated $1 billion in wages and benefits for target communities during the first full year of the program.”

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A new Project Labor Agreement has been announced between New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration and the city’s building trade unions, according to an announcement last week.

If adopted, the legislation would:

  • Establish the Office of Community Hiring and Workforce Development, which will establish a community hiring program to provide employment opportunities for low-income New Yorkers and New Yorkers who live in economically disadvantaged regions;
  • Expand access for economically disadvantaged communities;
  • Authorize the city to require a minimum ratio of apprentices; 
  • Enable the city to connect contractors with workforce development programs that will help them meet their hiring goals by referring qualified talent; this could potentially include ones that typically serve NYCHA residents, veterans, people with disabilities, justice-involved individuals, cash assistance recipients, immigrants, and NYCDOE and CUNY graduates;
  • Authorize emergency rulemaking, which will enable low-income communities to see an immediate impact from the dollars the city is spending in FY21 for COVID response and recovery; and
  • Authorize other city-affiliated entities, including Health + Hospitals, NYCDOE, NYC SCA, NYC EDC, Build NYC, and NYC IDA, to exercise such authorities, as well.

The PLAs

NYC and the Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York have negotiated new terms for the Citywide Renovation Project Labor Agreement, which covers renovation construction work on city-owned buildings, as well as a New Construction Project Labor Agreement, which will cover selected future projects. 

According to the city, the PLA aims to create consistent work rules across construction projects, reduce administrative burden on construction agencies, and connect working people in neighborhoods across the city to union apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship programs.

As part of the agreement:

  • Unions will prioritize the referral of workers from zip codes where at least 15% of the population lives below the federal poverty level and/or are NYCHA residents, aiming to reach an overall goal that at least 30 percent of all hours worked under PLA projects are logged by workers from these zip codes;
  • Unions will provide contractors with apprentices on city construction projects up to the maximum number allowed by the New York State Department of Labor when contractors request apprentices; and
  • This PLA increases opportunities and adds flexibility for MWBEs, allowing their workforce to gain valuable experience on city projects and build their companies, while continuing to source from within communities.

“This is a truly historic and transformative moment for our city. Thanks to Mayor de Blasio’s leadership, New York City is committing its resources to an unprecedented and unparalleled investment in job creation, workforce development and community hiring,” said Gary LaBarbera, President of the Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York.

“For years, New York’s union building trades have prioritized expanding access, equity and opportunity in neighborhoods across the city. We look forward to building on that commitment and working directly with the administration to ensure that all New Yorkers—especially those in underserved communities—have access not only to our exceptional union apprenticeship and direct-entry programs, but also to the tens of thousands of middle-class careers that this agreement will create. Only through investing in our city’s greatest asset, our working men and women, will we fuel New York’s economic recovery.”

While many trade leaders, such as LaBarbera, praised the measures, other groups maintained their stance against PLAs, arguing that they inhibit fair and open competition among those not in trade unions.

"By implementing PLAs he is actually hurting the people he wants to help and stopping them from working prevailing wage jobs,” said Brian Sampson, President of the Associated Builders and Contractors Empire State Chapter. “It’s time for the mayor to support fair and open competition on all taxpayer-supported projects."


Tagged categories: Business matters; Good Technical Practice; Government; Government contracts; Laws and litigation; NA; North America

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