Construction safety bill won’t be voted on until after primary day

Lawmakers had pushed to get law passed in order to lock down union support

Gary LaBarbera and John Banks
Gary LaBarbera and John Banks

What a difference a day makes.

The City Council’s controversial construction safety bill won’t hit the floor for a vote before the Sept. 12 election primary, a key date for lawmakers seeking endorsements from the bill’s union backers.

City Council members supporting the bill, which has already been delayed, wanted to get it voted on by the council’s last stated meeting before the primary, which is Sept. 9.

But in order to do that, the final text would have had to have been introduced by Wednesday in order for the bill to be “aged” the required seven days ahead of the meeting, Politico reported.

“The bill will not be aged for the next stated,” said Vania Andrew, a spokeswoman for Councilmember Jumaane Williams, the bill’s lead sponsor.

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The bill would require construction workers to undergo 59 hours of safety training and also create a construction safety task force, which would address the issue of training day laborers.

Critics argue that the training requirement is simply a veiled attempt to boost union membership.  A group organized to push back against the proposal, which includes the Real Estate Board of New York and the NAACP’s New York conference, released ads blasting the bill as a jobs-killer, especially for immigrant, nonunion workers.

Lawmakers have been drafting the bill’s language behind closed doors. They were pushing to get it voted on earlier this week in order to lock down support from unions before next month’s primary.

Nonunion and construction trade groups recently released dueling statistics on job site deaths in order to sway opinion. [Politico] — Rich Bockmann