New York City’s building trades unions rally at City Hall for higher wages, better working conditions

East News
Building trades union members at a rally today for better wages and working conditions (Audrey Wachs / AN)

Building trades union members at a rally today for better wages and working conditions (Audrey Wachs / AN)

Today, members of New York’s building trades unions marched on City Hall for wages that correspond to the rising cost of living, safer working conditions, more diversity, and strong unions to advocate on behalf of all workers. Middle Class Strong, a grassroots coalition administered through the Building & Construction Trades Council of Greater New York, organized the march and rally.

Richard Jacobs Jr., business development specialist at D.C. 9 1974 (International Union of Painters & Allied Trades), noted that unions oppose “contractors and businesses that skirt paying a fair wage.” The unions, moreover, provide for worker’s economic security by ensuring that its members have another job lined up when their current job wraps up.

Many protesters held “Middle Class Strong” signs. Middle Class Strong protects the rights of union and nonunion laborers. Coffins in front of the speaker’s podium represent lives lost on the job.

Real Affordability for All (RAFA), a coalition of affordable housing organizations in New York, pledged solidarity with workers protesting for fair wages. RAFA’s advocacy underscores the connection between a living wage and housing access. The group’s ongoing projects include proposing alternatives to the rezoning of East New York and other low-income neighborhoods.

Public Advocate Letitia James, New York State Assembly Representative Francisco Moya, City Council majority leader Jimmy Van Bramer, and others spoke at the rally in support of the union’s objectives.

Developers, architects, and other builders, what do you think? Are the unions’ demands fair?

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