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Publicly funded work should pay fair wages.


 
 

WATCH

New York workers need prevailing wage legislation

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LEARN

Why prevailing wage legislation?

New York has a long history of protecting public work employees and their constitutional right to a prevailing wage – dating back to the state’s first prevailing wage law established in 1897. However, as public-private partnerships become more common for large projects, it has become increasingly difficult to determine exactly what qualifies as “public work.” This has led to developers exploiting cheap labor and gaming the system.

To put a stop to this and protect New York working families, we need a clear definition of what constitutes public work.

This isn’t about making sweeping changes to the way we fund public works, it’s a simple matter of closing a loophole used by greedy developers to underpay their workers and pocket more of their profits.

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Prevailing wages drive economic development

More local contractors and local workers are involved in prevailing wage projects. For every $1 spent on prevailing wage jobs, $1.50 is generated for the local community.

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Prevailing wages don’t raise project costs

The overwhelming majority (82%!) of peer-reviewed studies over the last 18 years have found that defining public works for the purpose of enforcing the prevailing wage law would not substantially increase construction costs. Read more

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Prevailing wages are better for workers

Those same studies show that workers at union worksites are more diverse, more productive, and have better opportunities for advancement through apprenticeships. Read more

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New York could be a leader on this issue

Sixteen other states have statutes that more broadly apply the standards to include loans, tax incentives, and other forms of public support to private projects. New York is among ten other states with a weaker prevailing wage law that allows private developers to accept public money without paying prevailing wages and benefits.

 
 

TAKE ACTION

Tell state legislators to pass prevailing wage legislation

Help us protect New York working families by calling your State Senator State Assembly Member.

Call your State Senator and ask them to support Senate Bill S1947(Ramos).

Call your State Assembly Member and ask them to support Assembly Bill A1261(Bronson).

 
 

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What others are saying about prevailing wage

“Construction projects are being built throughout the state, subsidized with public funds, that are able to evade requirements to pay a decent wage to their workers. … That’s why we need legislation to clearly define public work.”

New York Daily News | March 20, 2019

“As an economist, … I can say unequivocally that prevailing wage laws are a net positive for New York's economy and for middle-class families.”

Times Union | April 9, 2019

“In a state like New York, prevailing wage laws also protect local workers. When developers are forced to pay middle class wages, they hire skilled, local workers instead of trucking in cheap labor from outside the area.”

Gotham Gazette | March 28, 2019

Prevailing wage is an economic stimulus to the entire state. … A careful look at the evidence shows that prevailing wages are a win-win for New York.”

Syracuse.com | March 14, 2019

 
 
 
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WHO WE ARE

About the coalition

The Blue Collar Coalition represents hard-working New York families, and is dedicated to making sure that all workers on publicly funded projects are paid a fair wage for a fair day’s work.

We are working to ensure that workers of every race, color, and creed are given a real chance at a middle class life.