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NYC labor deals with unions affirmed

Decision may help pave way for completion of $6 billion of infrastructure projects

It’s back to work in New York City for union laborers. U.S. Southern District Judge Robert Patterson last week ruled that the city’s labor agreements with 50 unions are not in violation of federal labor law after a pair of construction trade groups took umbrage with the accords.

In The Building Industry Electrical Contractors Association et al v. City of New York, the associations alleged the city was using the deals to write its own labor rules for infrastructure projects, and only using a handful of favorite unions and contractors for the work. 

Despite the allegations, Judge Patterson ruled in favor of the city, writing that the plaintiffs failed to prove that the city’s project labor agreement (PLA) was motivated by anything other than efficiently managing its construction projects.

"The terms of the PLA lead ineluctably to the conclusion that the city was motivated by efficient, cost-effective and timely completion of their work, and plaintiffs point to no credible alternative purpose underlying the city's actions," Patterson wrote in his decision. “While Plaintiffs contend that the cost-savings and efficiencies the PLAs are projected to provide are illusory, ‘whether the [PLA] was a good deal for the [City] does not bear on whether the Agreement is regulatory or proprietary.’”

For more on the effects the decision may have on the city of New York, read Reuters’ coverage.

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