New York CIty Council Member Ben Kallos

Jackson Chen

REAL ESTATE WEEKLY Image defaultConstruction & DesignNew bill calls for more pay, training for construction workers by BY JACKSON CHEN

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Construction & Design
New bill calls for more pay, training for construction workers

“Paying construction workers minimum wage on affordable housing projects is only making our City’s housing crisis worse,” Kallos said.

“Moreover, no one should die in a construction accident that could have been prevented with proper training. New York City’s construction workers need to have the right to say no to a dangerous work situation.”

The bill applies to any city project receiving at least $1 million, is 100,000 s/f or more, or is a residential building with more than 50 units. Currently, companies that are working on direct city contracts are expected to pay prevailing wages for its workers..

Kallos’ bill would extend this to projects that are receiving any type of government funding.

His bill also calls for the disclosure of the government subsidies, the number of jobs created, and fines of $10,000 per day for thos companies that fail to comply.

“Anyone who believes construction workers can support their families, send their kids to college, do all the things we associate with stable middle-class lives, on $20.00 per hour is kidding themselves,” said John O’Hare, managing director of the Building Contractors Association.

“New York City has the right to make prevailing wage and apprenticeship training a condition to any financial incentive package it offers the private sector. You want the benefits, pay the wages.”

Kallos’ bill draws some similarities to the new 421-a program, now called Affordable New York.

Manhattan Express Parks Department Now Open to Returning Queensboro Oval to Public Control by BY JACKSON CHEN

Parks Department Now Open to Returning Queensboro Oval to Public Control

City Councilmember Ben Kallos, who has been a fierce proponent of CB8’s mission to end private management of the park, said he is ready to allocate funds for this cause.

“I have already represented to the parks department that I would be interested in investing capital funding from my office,” Kallos said, adding there was additional money available from Borough President Gale Brewer and the state.

“I am willing to put my money where my mouth is in investing in this park,” Kallos said.

CB8 has brought up the idea of establishing a conservancy for the park that would raise money for maintenance and other expenses.

The parks department has indicated that if it decides to revert the Queensboro Oval to public management, it would take more than three years to create a fully accessible park.

Kallos insisted that in that scenario, the park should not go unused. Sutton East, he said, could remain in the space during the months it has a license to run its tennis facility provided that it return the park to its original condition during the summer months –– as its license currently requires.