NEW YORK CITY-A study by the Regional Plan Association, released earlier this week, says that construction unions in the city are riddled with problems that make them increasingly cost prohibitive and non-competitive. The report, “Construction Labor Costs in New York City: A Moment of Opportunity,” had been circulating for some time, but was publicly released this week. In it, the RPA details how construction unions in New York City are pricing themselves out of business, losing huge chunks of the construction market to non-union outfits, whose share has increased from just 15% in the 1970s to roughly 40% today.

Hope Cohen, associate director of the RPA’s Center for Urban Innovation, co-authored the report and tells that it’s meant to serve as a roadmap for what needs to happen for union construction to survive–and thrive–in the city. “The overall cost of labor of a fully union job is 20% to 30% higher than the total cost of labor on an open shop job,” Cohen says. “The wages are somewhat higher, but then there are all these work rules and practices that add up.”

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