Two seemingly like-minded political allies labor unions and nonprofit developers of lower-cost housing have taken opposing sides in Albany over a bill that would require the developers to pay construction workers the prevailing wage, essentially a union-level wage far higher than nonunion pay.
The developers, many of whom rely on government subsidies to build housing for low- and moderate-income families, say the bill would cut the production in half and increase rents at a vulnerable time for the industry, when the economic downturn has hampered the financing of low-cost housing. Supporters, however, argue that a prevailing-wage law would ensure quality construction and a decent standard of living for workers.
A report released last year by a nonprofit policy research group found that imposing prevailing wages on low- or moderate-cost housing projects could increase total development costs by about 25 percent and increase rents in a typical apartment by about $400 a month. The report was prepared by the Citizens Housing and Planning Council, which is made up of housing developers, construction company executives, bankers and academics.
Read more in The New York Times.