ABC Empire State Chapter held a rally with a diverse crowd of hundreds of open-shop craft workers to voice opposition to mandated apprenticeship on private construction jobsites
. “ABC’s number-one priority is the safety and wellbeing of the talented men and women who work for our member companies,” said Brian Sampson, president of the ABC Empire State Chapter. “Today I stood side by side with hundreds of incredibly skilled New York City merit shop construction workers who are safely building New York’s future and would be put out of work by the proposed apprenticeship program mandate. While we are pleased the New York City Council has made a wide array of good proposals to improve construction safety, any legislation mandating apprenticeship programs will halt construction and put thousands of hard working men and women, including many who attended today’s rally, out of a job—without improving safety.”
“Today’s merit shop jobsite
is a diverse reflection of the city’s many neighborhoods, and any action taken by the council that discriminates against merit shop contractors will disproportionately affect the Hispanic and African American construction workforce,” said Sampson. “Many in minority communities have found a pathway to the middle class by building careers in the merit shop construction industry and hope to continue these good-paying careers as a means to support their families.”
In New York City, 53 percent of merit shop construction workers are Hispanic and 19 percent are African-American. Additionally, the merit shop workforce overwhelmingly comes from Queens (37 percent), Brooklyn (28 percent) and the Bronx (10 percent).
“Rather than impose unfair new rules, the council can provide immediate improvements to construction safety in the city by adopting best practices from high-performing contractors such as mandatory scaffold training and fall protection certifications, that are accessible to all parties involved in construction,” said Sampson. “ABC members work hard to recruit, develop and retain a talented, well-trained workforce, and we look forward to continuing to engage the city council to improve construction safety in a way that will benefit all workers, regardless of labor affiliation.”