Friday, June 5, 2015

Unprecedented Deal for Women, Minority Contractors

Mayor Bill de Blasio is taking steps to direct an increased number of city construction contracts to women and minority-owned businesses. The deal, reached with the Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York, would pertain to $8 billion in projects on city-owned buildings through 2018. The contractors will still be subject to the regular bidding process, and all work must be performed by union workers.

Currently, only 4 percent of city business is conducted with women and minority-owned operations, a number that the administration is hoping to increase.

 "This agreement will help ensure that the city's investments will create a pathway to prosperity for our diverse workers and business owners who help build this city," said Maya Wiley, the mayor's legal counsel.

The contracts will go through the standard bidding process, and all of the work must be done by union outfits. Officials estimate the city will save $347 million through 2018.

Work is needed at scores of aging city buildings, many of which have decaying roofs and infrastructure in desperate need of repair.

Currently, both City Hall and Gracie Mansion, the official mayoral residence, are undergoing renovation work.

The agreement also decrees that 55 percent of all apprenticeship slots be filled with graduates of New York City public schools.

Mayor Bill de Blasio has been engaged in a debate with Governor Cuomo over whether a new 421a program should include a prevailing wage requirement for construction workers.

Mr. Cuomo has won support from the unions by saying the change should pay laborers a "prevailing wage," but city officials have suggested those raises would be too costly.

Construction workers on government projects make significantly more money on average than construction workers on private projects, according to a new report.

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