New York’s New ‘Wicks’ Law Revision Welcomed by Unions, Scorned by Non-Union Contractors

The New York State Assembly passes a new law, attached to the 2008 budget at the last moment. The law allows local governments and schools to opt out of the Wicks Law by signing a Project Labor Agreement or (PLA).

Non-union contractors are complaining because the law requires PLA’s to be with contractors employing union workers and agreeing to a union based apprenticeship program. 

“Many of them will go out of business, particularly the ones who do the majority of their work in public works. They won’t be able to work on these projects, not because anything says that they can’t, but because under a PLA they can’t use their own workers and, for most of them, that’s going to mean they won’t bid the project,” said Rebecca Meinking, President of the Associated Builders and Contractors.

I say, screw non-union, low paid, terrible or in many cases, no-benefit, employers. Step up to the plate and pay wages on scale with union wages with decent benefits, of get lost.

I’m sick and tired of conservative business owners bashing union skulls in. They claim project costs will go up. Go up? Up from where? My family has been involved in the commercial contracting business for forty years. Low-bid contractors don’t bid significantly lower. They bid marginally lower and pocket the extra profit!!! (The new model for American business) That is a fact.  

Labor leaders call the complaints from non union contractors baseless. They say no one is blocked from the bidding process by the changes and that no one is forced to abandon the use of non-union workers already on their payrolls. Th problem is that these non-union contractors do not have state approved apprenticeship programs like unions do. So, non-union workers will simply have to join a union to become an apprentice and find decent work.

Now that the shoe is on the other foot, non-union contractors are getting screwed for a change.

I say it’s about time. This a good for the American worker. Remember, unions built this country, not day workers and under-skilled labor. 

The law is set to take effect July 1st.

Read about Wicks Law here

Read related article here

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3 responses to “New York’s New ‘Wicks’ Law Revision Welcomed by Unions, Scorned by Non-Union Contractors

  1. Andrew

    Good for the “American worker”? Are you kidding me? Certainly NOT good for the worker and especially not for NYS taxpayers. Somebody slipped this in with the budget at 11pm (one hour before the budget got passed). That’s disturbing! Union money paid someone off to get this accomplished and now when it passes they can drive the cost of jobs sky high. Who gets to pay for it? New York State taxpayers that’s who. But I guess that’s why 41% of their money goes to lobbyists. As far as non union companies not paying as much to their employees and not giving as good benefits you are very mistaken. The only one that benefits in union construction companies are the higher ups. Regular Joe Shmo pays out the ass in dues and gets very little in return, no holidays, hardly any vacation (unless you count being laid off as vacation). As far as health insurance goes most new workers only receive benefits nowadays after about 9 months of continuous employment… which they will never get to because as soon as the busy season is done they’ll be collecting an unenjoyment check. Oh, but don’t try to look for another job! Remember Joe Shmo signed a contract to work for the union and when if they try to get out of it they get harassed by some goon. Yeah dude, stick with that union you’re in. If you are lucky you might actually get a pension when you retire. Unless of course all the money is stolen or used up. As soon as July 1st is here the lawsuits will start to fly.

  2. Andrew,

    Another anti-union conservative I see. Okay here goes…

    Judging by your comment you sound pretty young to me. I’m guessing in your twenties and probably a non-union guy who’s pissed that he either can’t get in, or was in and got out. You appear to have limited knowledge of the positive effects unions have had on this country.

    Here are some tid-bits for you to goggle or not.

    1) The most properous time for American workers, American Unions, and the American economy was between 1940 and 1975 (the height of union membership and activity). Companies were making record profit across the board, health care was plentiful and affordable, people were doing well, and the economy was generally thriving. Then came the opening of China, NAFTA, etc. Things changed after that because American companies were willing to abandon the middle class here in favor of paying slave wages off shore. Simple truth.

    2) Unions built all major infrastructure in this country and did it at reasonable cost. Bridges, roads, highways, water systems, everything.

    3) Union dues are very reasonable. I am in a union, and I pay $19.00 every two weeks. That is paying, as you so tactfully putit…”Paying out the ass.” Here’s what I get for my $19.00 – Tier 3 NYS Teacher Union Pension, Free dental, Two pairs of glasses each year at a rough cost of $15.00 per pair, very good life insurance, very good investment plans, discounts of everything from food, to car rentals, to vacations, etc., free professional training, tuition discounts. I don’t know about you, but this seems like an okay deal to me.

    3) My dad was a union laborer for 29 years before he died in 2000. Your statement ” As far as health insurance goes most new workers only receive benefits nowadays after about 9 months of continuous employment… which they will never get to because as soon as the busy season is done they’ll be collecting an unenjoyment check,” is simply silly and false. My father, nor any union person I know had their health insurance suspended. Even when my dad was dying of cancer, the union covered all of his expenses, including the funeral. Part of his life insurance is in trust for my two little ones when they go to college. By the way, no one I have ever known, including me, my father, my grandfather, my uncles, my wife’s uncles, or several of my friends, have ever been harassed by anyone but “BOSSES.” And that my friend, is why unions were started inthe first place. No thugs here. I think its all conservative anti-union propaganda myself. What do you think.

    Andrew, the reason why union membership is down, and you’re pissed off, and the economy blows, and right wing blow holes keep bashing organized labor, is because the economy the power elite in the country have set up – is failing. It is failing because they want to lower the standard of living to that of all of these low-life countries, who are filled with starving people making pennies a day. No unions in these countries by the way Andrew.

    Owners and management want to break all unions so they can back us into a corner to be at their collective mercy. They actually have already succeeded. You want to make more money and help turn things around? Organize workers and form a union to combat this nonsense of our nation being sold down the river in the name of corporate profit, and payoffs for fat cat CEOs.

    You need to wake up Andrew. I can send you some links that you can visit and read for yourself. Don’t be naive and stop listening to conservative talk radio. They’re crazy and anti-American.

    Unions are needed more than ever, and I’m thankful to be in one. Hopefully they’ll rebound.


  3. chuck

    The unions in this area suck. They are untrained and useless. I am not young and i am not anti union. Infact i have been in the painters union,the operators union, and the laberors union. The biggest waste of my time being the laberors of local 210 in buffalo. Needless to say i am currantly employed by a non union contractor. And i have never been more comfortable than i am right now. I pay all my own bills and save for my own retirement. But the best part of all is that i don’t have to wait on a list to feed my family. This is a joke,the unions have done good things in the past,but the past is exactly that. I am not sure what type of programs they have in place. I am sure they suck,I had a union laberor of 8 years ask me how to get the bit out of a cordless screw gun. WHAT A JOKE. This country was built from hard work, and the employee who takes pride in their work ethic and their ability to EARN their paycheck,not because their buisness agent said it was their turn to go to work. Think about it, there are hard working people sitting home,just so the unions higher ups can employ their family and friends.Don’t evan say its not the truth because i personaly now five good men who are sitting home right now and they do know how to change a screw gun bit, and they are loyal union members. What happened to “HARD WORK PAYS OFF”. If you don’t know, i’ll tell you, unions thats what. they protect the weak and unskilled. And if you tell them so they file a grevience and cost the tax payers more money in court.WHAT A JOKE. Maybe if the non union people in this state paid off the polititions we could get rid of the lazy useless poor excuse for a union called local 210 in buffalo . Get a grip n.y the wicks law will kill this state. If you want to help things get rid of the scumbag unions once and for all. Employ peaple who give a shit and can be fired,not just moved to the next contracter trying to make a living. In my world only the strong survive, If you don’t like it **** off . Join the union or become a politition. If you want a job done on time go NON union

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