The Tompkins County Industrial Development Authority has adopted a local labor policy for construction jobs that receive IDA tax breaks.
The Ithaca Voice reports the policy requires 75% of workers on those project to be from Tompkins or the six surrounding counties. Local unions have complained that developers were granted tax breaks by the IDA, then used cheaper, non-union labor on the jobs. Labor leaders say many of those workers were from outside the area, denying jobs to local workers. The IDA adopted a local labor policy in 2016, but there was little effort to track the actual percentage of local labor used.
Local unions are unhappy that all low to moderate income housing projects are exempt from the policy. IDA officials say state labor laws require contractors on those projects to pay prevailing wage, so they feel there’s little reason for contractors to go outside the area for labor.
Brian Notebloom, a representative for Carpenters Local 277 told the Ithaca Voice “This policy will help keep local wages in the hands of local workers, leading to an increase in homeownership and apprentice programs, and ultimately a stronger and more vibrant community. This is a win for everybody, especially tradespeople, and is a testament to the partnerships that make it happen every day.”
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