Contracts renewed, but more changes loom for construction unions

TRD New York /
Sep.September 19, 2011 10:25 AM

Though two dozen construction unions’ contracts were renewed this summer with revised terms, according to Crain’s the biggest changes are yet to come.

Operating engineers, painters and steamfitters, among other unions, agreed to unprecedented concessions amidst the faltering economy, helping to ensure that owners will continue to call upon them for construction work.

But Real Estate Board of New York members and others are upset that wages for carpenters and concrete workers, whose expiring contracts prompted fears of a World Trade Center walkout, were cut 20 percent only for residential and hotel projects of up to 16 and 20 stories, respectively. That agreement will make smaller developers more likely to choose unions than nonunions, as they frequently do for their projects. But it doesn’t help the city’s major developers.

“Some of the negotiations achieved substantial progress, and others achieved very little,” said REBNY President Steven Spinola. “We can’t continue to let these issues be in somebody else’s hands. It’s clear the current system doesn’t work.”

While REBNY wants more union concessions, unions argue that they’ve worked with owners to generate savings, and now it’s the contractors turn to take a cut. Owners who forego contractors save money, according to the Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York.

Crain’s said each side — REBNY, contractors and unions — are meeting internally to figure out the next steps as things continue to shake out over the next few months. [Crain’s]

Related Articles

John Banks

High expectations: A look at John Banks’ 4 years at REBNY

John Banks

John Banks to step down as REBNY president

REBNY Awards

Newmark Knight Frank wins REBNY retail award for Alamo Drafthouse deal in FiDi

Andrea Soros Colombel and 243-245 West 4th Street (Credit: Google Maps, iStock)

Contractor alleges George Soros’ daughter asked him to deceive city

Real estate brokers are feeling more positive about the business for the first time since dark clouds started appearing a year ago. (Credit: iStock)

Brokers feeling more upbeat for the first time in a year: REBNY

John Catsimatidis

John Catsimatidis on why he should be mayor

Jim Whelan of REBNY

Jim Whelan talks “playing defense”

REBNY's Jim Whelan (standing) and trade group lawyers

REBNY vs. StreetEasy: The fight for listings in Gotham