Aug 11, 2023 | News Story

OpEd: To Close Racial Wealth Gaps, Continue to Expand Prevailing Wage

In an OpEd published in a recent issue of amNY, NYC and NYS Building Trades President Gary LaBarbera writes that for more than 200 years, prevailing wage rules have helped ensure all hard-working New Yorkers, no matter their race or background, get paid what they deserve, playing a critical role in raising those from disenfranchised neighborhoods and communities into the middle class with pay that supports their families and is reflective of the product of their work.

"Bad actors and unscrupulous contractors in the industry will say prevailing wage is holding back economic growth and hurting business, but clearly if we don’t continue its expansion, and recognize the power it can hold to close the racial gap in wages, and ultimately, help narrow the overall racial wealth gap, we’ll hurt not only our Black and Latino communities, but also our overall economic prowess. The unionized construction industry is already setting a standard for how collective bargaining agreements and prevailing wage can help bridge these gaps and improve the livelihoods of all blue-collar workers in the industry, so we must continue to encourage this commitment in this industry and other sectors to maximize its positive potential." Read the full OpEd here.