- Members of the New York City District Council of Carpenters voted to approve a direct agreement with Related Cos., developer of the $25 billion Hudson Yards project in Manhattan, according to The Real Deal. The controversial contract, in the works for more than two months, will see the trade union perform work at the 2.9-million-square-foot, in-progress 50 Hudson Yards office skyscraper and for the second-phase Western Yard, independent of any labor agreement Related strikes with the Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York.
- The Real Deal obtained a copy of the memorandum of understanding between Related and the carpenters, and reported that average pay rates are set at $60.45 per hour for high-rise concrete workers and $64.64 per hour for those members performing interior work. High-rise concrete journeymen will receive $50.12 per hour in wages plus $34.88 in benefits for a total pay rate of $85 per hour, which is about 10.5% less than the city's prevailing wage rate. Overall, wage rates in the agreement are 1% to 10% lower than the prevailing wage. Reportedly, the union uses more lower-paid workers on a project in order to reduce its overall rates and to be able to compete with private contractors paying nonunion rates.
- Joseph Geiger, executive secretary-treasurer of the district council, told The Real Deal that the agreement was worth millions of work hours and that the carpenters will "continue to innovate to ensure our members meet the needs of the market." Related spokesperson Joanna Rose said the company "looks forward to more partnerships with union trades on the future phases of Hudson Yards."
When Related first announced in August that it had reached an agreement with the carpenters, the developer said the deal was worth $75 million to $100 million for the union for 50 Hudson Yards alone. But at the time, Gary LaBarbera, president of the Building and Construction Trades Council, called the news a publicity stunt.
Related and the Trades Council have been embroiled in legal battles on various fronts. Earlier this year, Related filed a lawsuit claiming that some corrupt unions, which were party to a labor agreement between the two for the first phase of Hudson Yards, had cheated the developer out of $100 million and that the group was trying to include those companies in the labor agreement for the second phase. The Trades Council said the claims were part of Related's union-busting efforts, the subject of complaints the council has made against the developer to the National Labor Relations Board.
Related filed a second lawsuit against the Trades Council in May alleging that the organization was intentionally interfering with progress at 50 Hudson Yards and that its members refused to make concrete deliveries to the project.