NYCHA Project Labor Agreement: Housing, Jobs and Opportunity

By Eric Adams and Gary LaBarbera | March 3, 2024

As New York City’s blue-collar mayor and the president of the Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York, we are united in working for what New Yorkers need: Housing, good-paying careers, and opportunity. We know that unions are one of the most effective on-ramps to accessing and bolstering our middle-class. That’s why this administration has led on securing contracts for more than 95 percent of its unionized workforce. We are determined to deliver better wages and benefits for the hard-working public servants who keep us safe, keep us healthy, and keep our economy strong.

That is why last week we were proud to announce the signing of the 2024 Project Labor Agreement (PLA) with the Building and Construction Trades Council and the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA). This collective bargaining agreement will allow us to move forward on nearly 200 planned NYCHA projects, providing hours of work for men and women in the construction trades; increasing opportunities for NYCHA residents and other low-income New Yorkers to access a middle-class career path through the unionized construction trades, and supporting our Minority- and Women-Owned Business Enterprises (M/WBEs).

This new agreement underscores our city’s commitment to both NYCHA residents and our labor unions. Working together, we are not just improving NYCHA facilities — we are creating opportunities for NYCHA residents themselves and generating economic stimulus for our underserved communities.

The PLA will ensure that NYCHA’s housing facilities are repaired and renovated by a highly-skilled and trained workforce. Through the hours of work generated by this agreement, at least 50 slots per year in the construction trades’ best in class apprenticeship programs will be reserved for NYCHA residents, providing an opportunity to learn a lifelong skill, while earning a paycheck and a path to the middle class.

All of these efforts are designed to address the ongoing need to improve and increase our city’s housing stock. While New York City has financed more new affordable housing and connected more New Yorkers to homes over the past two years, we must do more at all levels of government to address the ongoing housing crisis. We must also make sure that the workers building our housing stock can afford to live in our great city.

An effective partnership between government and labor is a key part of our strategy. It is much more than one agreement or contract. It is an ongoing and productive alliance that has the power to affect the changes we need to deliver the affordable housing and thousands of good-paying careers New Yorkers need and deserve.

In Albany, lawmakers, labor, industry, and advocates are fighting for a deal we need that will create a new affordable housing tax incentive, facilitate office conversions for affordable homes, and remove the cap on floor-to-area ratio to drastically increase the construction of affordable homes.

At the city level, we must also ban together to advance our ‘City of Yes’ agenda, our historic set of proposals that will reform the city’s decades-old discriminatory zoning code and allow us to build a little more housing in every neighborhood. We need to say ‘yes’ to more housing, more community, and more opportunity for all, and working together is how we get there.

Every New Yorker should be proud of our status as America’s biggest union town. Workers are the bedrock of our city’s prosperity, and the power of organized labor to ensure that working people get fair wages, benefits, and protections has always been a core New York City value. In building our city’s housing, we must remember that if we do not pay our workers enough to be able to afford to live in our city, we risk losing the skilled, trained workforce that is responsible for building and maintaining our roads, bridges, and infrastructure. We will lose the blue-collar workers that are so necessary to our communities.

Since day one, our city and our labor unions have worked together to support working people, uplift disenfranchised communities, and ensure our city is managing its resources effectively. Our new PLA agreement is a testament to how good government and effective leadership can benefit the working people of New York City — and keep us the greatest city in the world.

Mayor Eric Adams is the 110th Mayor of the City of New York. Gary Labarbera is President, Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York