Construction unions blast nonunion contractors’ push for subway work

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To the editor:

In a recent letter to the governor, detailed in “Biz leaders: Let nonunion contractors do subway projects,” Brian Sampson and his anti-union cronies called on the governor to “put an end to senseless project labor agreements” with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, saying PLAs waste money and time. But the Building Trades have no PLAs with the MTA! In fact, the MTA is one of the few agencies that we don’t have PLAs with. As such, the very basis of the letter is simply nonsense.

But since they wanted to bring up PLAs, let’s talk PLAs. It’s important to note that they have been proven to not only save taxpayer dollars, but make projects more efficient. For example, Hill International, Inc., a construction consulting firm, analyzed the 2004-2009 PLA between the School Construction Authority and the Building Trades that covered $5.4 billion of repair and renovation to city schools, and found that labor cost savings over the project’s duration were over $221 million.

Call it ignorance. Call it lies. Either way, Sampson et al are wrong and should stop scapegoating middle-class construction workers that are actively helping build our city’s infrastructure.

Gary LaBarbera


Building & Construction Trades Council of Greater New York

To the editor:

Here is a quick tutorial on New York City construction for the three members of the upstate business lobby who penned a letter to Gov. Andrew Cuomo with their recommendations to improve the MTA.

Blaming project labor agreements, or PLAs, for problems at the MTA actually demonstrates their ignorance. There are no PLAs with the MTA and never have been.

Also, PLAs are being used by many other city and state agencies with outstanding results. City taxpayers, as an example, are saving over $347 million thanks to PLAs currently in use on public building and school renovation projects throughout the five boroughs.

Grandstanding from organizations that aren’t from the city and obviously don’t know what they’re talking about will not help. Real leaders in New York City construction, however, are ready and willing to work with the MTA to improve mass transit.

Joseph Geiger

Executive Secretary Treasurer

New York City and Vicinity District Council of Carpenters

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