Saturday, September 6, 2008

Orange Regional Medical Center Project Comes To A Halt

It looks like the Orange Regional Medical Center, the $300+ Million Dollar Hospital project in Crystal Run has some issues. The project was shut down last week because tradesworkers on the site would not cross the picket line established by the Hudson Valley electricians union, IBEW Local 363, who has an issue with Rondout Electric of Poughkeepsie for undermining the standards of electricians in the area. This is a local contractor that has historically undermined the established local standards of electricians by paying his electricians less in pay and benefits.

Construction jobs should not be won by the contractor who can pay their workers the lowest wages. That is why mobile craft workers need to establish standards for their labor. This standard is established in every area across the country by the state and federal government. And those standards need to be respected.
That standard evolves over the years and keeps the local industry stable and local employers in business.

ORMC has gladly accepted around $48 million dollars of NYS TAXPAYERS money in order to be able to fund their project. The contractor that they put in charge of the project hired other contractors that undermine the local construction industry and drive down wages and standards. This project is just another example of the NYS TAXPAYERS NOT GETTING THE MOST BANG FOR THEIR BUCK, and just "more of the same" around here lately. The bank vault is open. Who will be the leader or politician that finally stands up for the local middle class and realizes that his or her supporters need these construction jobs? And that the standards they have worked for over the years, should not torn apart by developers using NYS taxpayers money? Can anyone say it?

Politicians always talk about all of the jobs they want to create. You hear it all the time. But local job creation opportunities are actually being lost every year! Jobs we could have had. Opportunities for good jobs - just given away! No one can justify the NYS TAXPAYERS not getting the full return every time they use our money. Thousands of opportunities have been lost over the years when officials gave money to developers with no strings attached. The construction jobs are and should be in every politicians mind, part of the investment. The local standards established prior to the project shouldn't plummet after of the project is built, thats the gripe.

Some local boards and politicians feel that it's kind of an inconvenience to ask a developer to create local construction jobs. To ask that the builder respects the area standards of the construction crafts in return for the financial help they receive. Some local boards and politicians think that the construction jobs "don't count". Kind of a bother, a write-off.

They are wrong. Thousands of local families depend on those local construction workers. They don't stick out because they go to projects to work, not to buildings. They are hard to see and count but they are out there en mass.

Projects funded by the NYS TAXPAYER money should employ people in the area it is built in and not undercut the standards of the local construction workers in that area. Government should not be lending financial assistance to someone with one hand and at the same time, inflicting financial harm to someone else. That does not make sense. Both sides of the issue are part of the equation. When this happens it is not just an erosion of the standards for one job, it is the erosion of the fabric of the entire local construction industry.

The good news is that some workers on the project DO RECEIVE the prevailing wages and benefits for their crafts and they are local workers. WE ARE VERY HAPPY ABOUT THAT AND IT IS THE WAY IT SHOULD BE. It proves it is possible to accomplish. However, keeping score of the amount of hits and misses only points out that there are still jobs lost - that could have been found.

If this issue is left unchecked, pretty soon maybe only "some" will be able to pay these state and local taxes. "Some" doesn't work there either, does it?


Brittany Turner said...

Well said.

Anonymous said...

Too many of the people on the board are out of touch with the people who are struggling to stay in the middleclass. The construction industry is already here and they should grow it instead of hurt it

Anonymous said...

My grandson is trying to be a electrician and I want him to have a chance to make it in life. I support the trades.

Anonymous said...

Once again, the big money corporate thugs hurting the little workers. They shouldn't get any public money if they don't hire the local people.