Amid Spike in Deaths and Spat With Labor, Nonunion Builders Launch Training Program

A Lower Manhattan construction site. Photo: DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images
A Lower Manhattan construction site. Photo: DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images


A new group of nonunion construction companies is pushing back on organized labor’s demands for new safety and training regulations by setting up their own apprenticeship program.

BuildingNYC, a coalition of 12 “merit-based” developers and contractors, is partnering with the Associated Builders and Contractors, a national federation of nonunion companies whose members provide training in the trades. Last year saw a spike in deaths on construction sites—with 11 killed on the job according to the city, and 16 if you believe the federal government—prompting a labor-driven push to create new rules and tighten standards for the industry.

“This program is a direct rebuttal to those who believe that quality training can only be found in the existing guild system,” said BuildingNYC spokesman Brad Gerstman, arguing that the group was standing up for nonwhite workers against the predominantly Caucasian unions. “The thousands of mostly minority workers that we represent will be able to get the skills training that will put them on par with any worker in the construction industry.”

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