Unions Take Pay Cut on PHA Projects

Laborers say they haven't had much work in recent years.

Fourteen building-trades unions in Philadelphia have agreed to take a 20 percent pay cut on projects built by the Philadelphia Housing Authority. That will reduce costs on publicly funded affordable housing projects — and could spread back into the private sector.

The Inquirer reports:

“This is a very, very good negotiated agreement,” said Pat Eiding, secretary-treasurer of the Building and Construction Trades Council of Philadelphia.

Eiding, who also is president of the Philadelphia Council of the AFL-CIO, said the agreement “didn’t happen without a whole lot of consternation and meetings.” But he added that some of the 14 unions represented by the building council “haven’t had a hell of a lot of work in the last couple of years.”

Eiding acknowledged that giving PHA a discount may lead other developers to ask for the same. “I hope it does,” he said, adding that in return, the unions would want long-term employment commitments.

The agreement lasts five years, during which PHA pledges to engage “only contractors who hire union laborers, carpenters, painters, and other workers.” (Inquirer)