Our partner, the Associated Builders & Contractors (ABC), is having a difficult time with a provision in the Governor’s Casino Gaming bill. Specifically, the provision that calls for a private developer to pay prevailing wages and use a PLA for all construction of the said new casinos. Are you serious? Now the state is going to tell a PRIVATE company that they have to pay more to build a facility that they will own. This is not a state property nor a state building.
This is a complete overstep by the Governor and I truly hope that the Legislature does not give him this provision. If they do, then they are no better and are equally as guilty. This is the proverbial “camel’s nose under the tent” and will lead to many more instances where the labor movement will look to exploit this “new standard”.
Welcome to the new Albany dance. It’s the one where we take one step forward and then two steps back. It’s a dance that leads t nowhere.
Here is the release by ABC:
The Associated Builders & Contractors (ABC) opposes the unjustified use of project labor agreements (“PLAs”) and the payment of prevailing wages for private gaming facility construction projects, as would be required by the governor’s Upstate NY Gaming Economic Development Act. Mandated prevailing wage rules and PLAs will significantly raise costs for these projects, reduce employment for Upstate construction workers and greatly reduce the revenue these projects would otherwise generate in Upstate New York.
These provisions will limit competition and employment opportunities for upstate New Yorkers. There is no public policy justification for these provisions being in the legislation. One can only conclude that these provisions are included to secure the support of organized labor for the casino bill.
Mandating prevailing wage and PLA use on private construction is unprecedented and is yet another example of why New York is consistently ranked as the worst state in the Union in which to conduct business.
The redefinition of public work projects to include privately funded construction, as this bill proposes, it would effectively open the door to mandating prevailing wages on virtually all private work where a state license is required to operate.
ABC suggests the bill be amended to remove prevailing wage mandates as well as to allow potential bidders to submit bids with or without a PLA. These changes would insure that projects are open to all qualified bidders, whether union or non-union and that labor costs are not unreasonably increased by use of inflated prevailing wage rates.