Assemblymember Bronson’s Bill Would Ensure Workers on State Construction Projects Get a Fair Wage

Assemblymember Harry B. Bronson (D-Rochester/Chili/Henrietta) announced that his bill guaranteeing that workers on state-financed construction projects earn the prevailing wage passed the Assembly A.5498.

“Unfortunately, because ‘public work’ isn’t defined in the state’s law, workers on these projects are left open to exploitation and aren’t paid the wages they rightfully earned,” said Bronson. “This measure fixes that and continues our push to strengthen workers’ rights and help more middle-class New Yorkers.”

While public policy dictates that workers on state-financed construction projects earn the prevailing wage, Department of Labor’s various interpretations of what is considered “public work” brought ambiguity to the law and has undermined these rates. In order to expand protections and fair wages for workers, Bronson’s legislation will define in statute “public work” and ensure when public money is spent or when private work is done on public land, the project is considered public work. The Department of Labor would have the authority to issue a stop work order when a project is found to be non-compliant and exceptions are made for homeowners and small nonprofits, Bronson noted.

As chair of the legislative Commission on Skills and Development and Career Education, Bronson has been at the forefront of workforce development, fighting to protect workers, match qualified employees with the employers that need them and grow New York’s economy. Bronson’s proposal to include an Empire State Apprenticeship Program, a tax credit for businesses and nonprofits to encourage and support the hiring and training of apprentices, was included in the 2017-18 state budget.