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Legislature should dispatch Cuomo’s unionized labor plan

Wednesday, March 5, 2014
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Legislature should dispatch Cuomo’s unionized labor plan

As you may know, Gov. Cuomo has released his 2014-15 executive state budget. A provision in his proposal would effectively mandate the use of a project labor agreement (PLA) for public projects valued over $10 million using a design/build approach.

As a well-established heavy civil contractor invested in the Capital Region, I can tell you that many publicly funded projects we bid on are near or exceed $10 million. Schultz Construction will not participate in projects that mandate use of a PLA, because a PLA effectively bars open-shop contractors from using our local workforce and instead favors businesses using a unionized trade workforce.

We will not circumvent our own highly skilled, loyal and committed workforce in favor of a government-mandated workforce. Open shop firms are effectively blocked from participating in these projects.

State government should remain neutral in bid procurement concepts which tilt the competitive playing field. This is bad public policy. Taxpayers do not benefit from constraint of competition.

I urge state legislators to take strong leadership to eliminate this line from the budget. If this provision is enacted as written, it will decrease fair and open competition on New York’s infrastructure projects by effectively barring open shop firms and their employees from competing for and participating in these projects.

William Schultz

Ballston Spa

The writer is president of Schultz Construction, Inc.

Inexcusable dawdling over TrustCo building

Justin Mason reported [Feb. 26 Gazette] that Schenectady County has done nothing with the former TrustCo headquarters building on Erie Boulevard and State Street, which it bought for about $2 million almost a decade ago.

It is difficult to accept that, after owning this property for almost 10 years, the county Legislature has still not been presented any plan as to what to do with it. Should it be sold? Should it be used as the county office building. with the building farther up State Street to be used by the courts?

There is much to be said for careful planning, but no private owner would be able to sustain a $2 million investment for a decade with no return on the investment.

With an assessed value of more than $2.8 million, it is remarkable that the six county legislators representing city residents have not raised this matter publicly, to insist that this property either be used by the county or sold and returned to the tax rolls.

Surely, if it is sold neither the city nor the county will ever recover through a higher sales price what has already been lost in property tax revenues.

Elmer Bertsch

Niskayuna

Keep Internet out of cable giants’ hands

Allowing cable giants to pick and choose who gets fast Internet service would be insane.

To keep our competitive edge, we need fast web information. Let’s keep the United States strong by keeping our Internet open for all businesses!

James Sherry

Schenectady

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