Heading into the summer bargaining season, the goodwill created between New York City contractors and construction unions during landmark labor negotiations in 2009 appears to be spent. Labor bosses are crying foul over an employer campaign aimed at reducing the gap between union and open-shop rates.
Rather than working exclusively with union trades representatives, the Building Trades Employers’ Association, which represents about 1,700 contractors citywide, is reaching out directly to rank-and-file union members to drive home market realities. In 2009, BTEA and the Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York (BCTC), which represents 15 unions, found short-term consensus on project labor agreements to improve pricing and unfreeze stalled projects. Now, Coletti says, a long-term solution is needed.