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BTEA CAMPAIGN SHOWS UNION CONSTRUCTION THE KEY TO
CREATING JOBS AND REVITALIZING CITY’S ECONOMY

 


A BTEA campaign based on a report by Urbanomics shows that for each $ 1 million in construction a total of 8 jobs are created in New York City.  The Construction and Real Estate industry comprise 20 percent of the City’s GDP while providing 10 percent of jobs and 5 percent of total wages according to the report.

The report, rebuilding and renewing new york city: fast track to recovery—the impact of the union construction industry on the city’s economy, is part of a $300,000 campaign that includes a profile of the union construction industry which shows its importance in rebuilding the City’s physical and social infrastructure by growing the middle class. The full report was provided to the Board of Governors and can be viewed on the BTEA website www.rebuildrenewny.com

The campaign included a targeted social media and print advertisement effort to New York City and New York State elected officials and their staffs, real estate owners and local community newspapers and groups to bolster the need and present the facts about the benefit of union construction.

Initiated in March, the report has been viewed on-line by over 1.3 million people. The BTEA has received numerous calls including newly-elected officials wanting to discuss the recommendations and learn more about the BTEA and its members.

Among the report’s recommendations for New York City are:

  • Creating a new Deputy Mayor For Rebuilding and Reconstruction in order to

Have a single point of contact and advocate for advancing large private sector projects and coordinating the various city agencies that have responsibility for approving them;

  • Expediting Standard permitting at the Buildings Department. Priority should be given to projects 15 stories or 100,000 square ft or more.
  • Converting Class B and C Office Space to Residential Use. Amending the Building and Zoning Code to allow as-of-right conversion could generate approximately 14,000 new residential units according to a study by the Real Estate Board of New York.

Recommendations for New York State Reforms include:

  • Amending the Workers Compensation Law to Mandate the Use of Alternative Dispute Resolution. We all know that New York State’s average General Liability insurance costs are over 300 percent higher than everywhere else in the Nation. And the simple truth is the state will not amend the 240 Scaffold Law no matter how hard we try.  The BTEA report includes an entire section by NFP, a subsidiary of ULICO insurance company.  ADR not only could reduce insurance costs but is a market advantage to the union construction industry since in order to use ADR you must be party to a collective bargaining agreement.  The report makes clear that contactors can no longer wait or afford general liability insurance at the outrageous costs. Reform is needed NOW.

The report also includes some information which the industry must be able to communicate to a newly elected NYC and NYS progressive leadership which is consistent with their own goals.  Here are some key facts from the report that must be communicated to elected officials who believe building the city’s Middle Class should be a priority:

  • The BTEA has over 177 M/WBE contractors, more than any other contractor association in New York
  • 42% have revenues of $ 5 million or more
  • 21% have revenues of $ 1-5 million

In terms of the Building Trade union workforce employed by BTEA contractors 55% are minority and Women:

  • 2% are Black
  • 5% are Latino
  •  3% are women

The BTEA member contractors and their respective building trade unions are at a very critical point in the competitive marketplace.  We are not going to win very much work based on price alone.  The non-union contractor has quite frankly closed the gap on safety thanks to legislative efforts which made them.  That leaves us with taking all of the above facts and utilizing them in a way that results in new contract opportunities.

How often do we hear about the need to grow the middle class in this great City.  How often do we hear about the need for workers to earn a salary which allows them to live and raise a family in this city?  A recent survey by the NYC Partnership of job vacancies in New York City shows 4 of 5 current job openings require a bachelor’s degree while a full 43% of the City’s labor force has at most, a high school or equivalency degree.  The BTEA has already made the pitch to the Democratic Mayoral Candidate Eric Adams citing all of the above statistics and will continue to do so.

That has to be our plan in terms of communicating who we are and what the benefits of the union construction industry are that will help us and New York City grow. It is a message you will hear now, next year, and longer from the BTEA in promoting our industry.

Keep in mind, we will have a new Mayor, new city agency staff, 36 of 52 new City Council members, new State Assembly and Senate members, and a new Governor.

We have a lot of work to do in better defining who we are and why they should embrace and work with the BTEA, its member Associations and its contractors—and why it’s in the best interests of New York City that we be successful.  That journey and that effort begins today.

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