The Northeast Regional Council of Carpenters has issued the following statement regarding the City of Yonkers and the city’s Industrial Development Authority regarding recent decisions that effectively block local labor from participating in taxpayer-backed construction projects:
YONKERS, N.Y. — Kris Komorowski, Council Representative for the NRCC, said, "we call on the Industrial Development Authority for the City of Yonkers to stop issuing tax breaks to owners who hire developers whose intent is only to hire out-of-area contractors to perform work in our community — instead of utilizing local businesses and local labor."
Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano's administration has previously indicated that it would work with local labor officials on projects that the IDA and the city supported, Komorowski continued. "The IDA needs to follow through to include Project Labor Agreements (PLAs) on the scope of work that it supports, which guarantees that projects will come in on time and at a set amount."
As a candidate, Mayor Spano said he would work with local labor groups in support of PLAs in city projects, added Komorowski.
Instead, the IDA has provided tax incentives to developers without PLA language, said Komorowski, which then enables outside contractors – who have no interest or investment in the community — an unfair advantage to bid exceedingly low on projects. Additionally, it creates conditions for payroll fraud and uses unregulated labor that does not contribute tax dollars to the community.
"There must be checks and balances on the [IDA's] system when taxpayer dollars are in use," Komorowski added. "The IDA and Mayor need to work with local labor and promote fair practices in project bidding."
PLAs are known to guarantee that projects are completed on time and at a set amount, and they give local construction professionals a level playing field to submit realistic bids on projects.
NRCC officials pointed out that many counties and municipalities in New York State put PLA language into contracts because it helps create certainty with costs on behalf of taxpayers. PLAs also assure that contractors in the area can pay prevailing wages on local construction jobs — wages that are spent in the local community and help pay for the city's public services and infrastructure.
The Northeast Regional Council of Carpenters has called on the city of Yonkers IDA to assure that labor costs are set ahead of time with PLA language in order to avoid cost overruns on construction projects.
PLAs have been used for successful construction projects in the public and private sector and assure that all work is performed efficiently and without interruption.
Some examples of successful PLAs include:
The First Niagara Events Center in Buffalo; a major wastewater treatment plant in New Rochelle; a new hospital in White Plains; the Catskill-Delaware Water Ultraviolet Disinfection Facility in Westchester County.