Union bill gains momentum

Key legislators and real estate execs are demonstrating a new openness to a State Assembly bill that would mandate higher wages for construction workers building some new residential projects, according to the Wall Street Journal. The bill, introduced earlier this year, was previously blocked by the real estate industry and Bloomberg administration, who said it would drive up costs and limit construction on low-income housing. But legislators may now concede in order to gain ground on other political and financial issues, as the bulk of construction — union contracts expire by the end of June in New York and Albany.

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The Real Estate Board of New York is also in preliminary negotiations with Gary Lebarbera, head of the Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York, a labor organization representing around 200,000 city workers, to explore wage cuts and other concessions to reduce expenditure for interior construction work, according to Real Estate Weekly.

A deal struck just last week
between the city’s painters’ union and a related contracting company could serve as a benchmark for other deals during this time, experts say. [WSJ] and [REW]