NABTU Statement on NY Wage Standard for Affordable Housing

Washington, D.C. – March 29, 2024 – North America’s Building Trades Unions (NABTU) President Sean McGarvey issued the following statement:

“North America’s Building Trades Unions (NABTU) fully support the efforts of President Gary LaBarbera and the Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York & Vicinity (NYC BCTC) to create a meaningful wage standard for affordable housing. A good housing policy must require that workers constructing housing can earn the means to afford to live in the units they build.

“NABTU strongly opposes an average site-wide wage requirement. An average wage standard is a low-road wage standard that suppresses workers’ wages on the lower end of the wage scale. Additionally, because the average site-wide wage can only be calculated after a project is complete, it practically takes years to determine, making it extremely difficult to find the exploited workers, especially those who worked in the early stages of construction. As the New York City Comptroller has experienced, an average site-wide wage construct is ripe for fraud and abuse and difficult to enforce and remedy violations. Misclassification and abuse are already rampant in the construction industry. An average site-wide wage requirement would only make it worse.

“Any wage standard must be transparent and meaningful, especially when developers receive public tax breaks. NABTU supports the NYC BCTC’s efforts to bring a meaningful wage standard to publicly subsidized affordable housing development in New York City. NABTU continues to build thousands of units in NYC through our pension dollars and the Housing Investment Trust at full union wages and benefits, and we surpass all the market benchmarks in the returns on these investments. We urge New York’s elected officials to support a reasonable, transparent wage standard, as the NYC BCTC has proposed.”