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New York City Mayor ‘Sides Against’ Construction Unions Over Mandatory Training Proposal - Argues Better Inspections & Rules That Would ‘Do More To Improve’ Safety

Published Friday, January 13, 2017

(NEW YORK CITY) – New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has refused to back mandatory Apprenticeship Programs for Construction Workers, siding against a proposal backed by Construction Unions.

“Everyone knows ‘I prefer’ Union Labor and I’m a ‘big fan’ of Apprenticeship Programs.  I don’t think (a) ‘requirement’ works, ‘practically speaking,’” he said. “I think ‘the more we could do, the better, so I encourage it.’  I want to ‘support the maximum use’ of it, but ‘it’s not going to solve the problem anytime soon’ because ‘there are always going to be some Non-Union sites and that’s where our stricter regulation is going to make a real impact.’”

The City Council is working on a law to regulate the construction industry more strictly and is considering forcing contractors to hire Workers who’ve gone through an Apprenticeship Program.

Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito has said she backs the proposal.

The proposal’s supporters argue that it would improve worksite safety, but it would also be a big boost to Construction Unions, which offer their Members training.

According to the New York State Department of Labor, 47% of the city’s construction training programs are backed by Unions.

De Blasio countered that it would be better to address safety issues by hiring more inspectors, increasing penalties and tightening regulations.

Greater New York Laborers & Employers Cooperation & Education Trust Executive Director Pat Purcell criticized de Blasio’s stance, arguing that Non-Union sites “do not have the ‘same commitment’ to safety and training as Union job sites.” 

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