2019 was an eventful year for the Carpenters union in Albany. Our main legislative focus was to expand the prevailing wage law. Too often, developers participating in “public-private partnerships” have gamed the system and exploited cheap labor with our tax dollars. It hurts union carpenters and reputable contractors—both union and nonunion—who pay good wages to good workers. Our legislation would close that loophole.
The heated debate went to the last days of the legislative session before falling short. We have not given up. Defining prevailing wage will be front and center again this year and we are already laying the groundwork to take it over the finish line in 2020.
In 2019, the North Atlantic States Regional Council of Carpenters (NASRCC) was the driving force behind the creation of the Blue Collar Coalition. The Blue Collar Coalition-NY is made up of our partners in organized labor who are dedicated to making sure that all workers on publicly funded projects are paid a fair wage for a fair day’s work. We are fighting to ensure that workers of every race, color and creed are given a real chance at a middle-class life.
Throughout last year’s legislative session, the Blue Collar Coalition ran digital campaigns across social media and news sites to push the New York State legislature to define public work and pass prevailing wage legislation. If you haven’t already, we invite you to like and follow the Blue Collar Coalition on Facebook and Twitter; and check out our ads on YouTube. You can find more information at www.bluecollarny.com.
We also organized successful events that you may have been a part of, including our Tax Fraud Days of Action; a lobby day rally in West Capitol Park; and a pre-budget deadline rally inside the Capitol. We also saw numerous opinion pieces by our allies that laid out our case for decision makers, including: New York Daily News: Say yes to more prevailing wage: Requiring higher pay for laborers in all public works is good for New York’s middle class; Gotham Gazette: Fair Wages are Good for the Economy, Albany Should Pass an Expanded Prevailing Wage; Amsterdam News: A fair wage for working men and women; and Syracuse Post Standard: Prevailing wage is an investment in Syracuse community.
We have a lot more planned for 2020 and will be in touch in the weeks ahead with updates and ways that you can get involved to make a difference. We want to thank you for all of your work this year and we look forward to a productive legislative session that benefits union carpenters. Best wishes for a happy and healthy New Year.