Sunday, May 1, 2011

Construction Labor Costs in New York City: A Moment of Opportunity

Today Regional Plan Association issued a report analyzing the structure and costs of unionized construction in New York. Open shops (union and nonunion) have grown from just 15 percent of the market in the 1970s to about 40 percent now--and are 20-30 percent less expensive than union shops. The report, researched and written by Julia Vitullo-Martin and Hope Cohen of RPA's Center for Urban Innovation, recommends elimination of wasteful work rules and practices that add more than 20 percent to the cost of union labor. The report finds that a 10 percent differential between union and nonunion construction is tolerable to union developers and contractors, while the existing 20-30 percent differential is not.

20110501 RPA Construction Costs



  2. RPA power play not enough

    The Regional Plan Association has joined a chorus of contractors and developers urging Mayor Michael Bloomberg to push for lowering the costs of unionized construction. But the mayor is still unlikely to become involved. Gary LaBarbera, whose Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York represents about 100,000 workers, is a key opponent of any concessions and a close ally of the mayor's. Mr. LaBarbera endorsed Mr. Bloomberg in 2005 and 2009, and was an outspoken supporter of his extension of term limits.


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