The amount of construction workers in Baltimore City that are not part of a union is 90 percent. If passed, the bill will require 90 percent of the entire construction workforce to pay Unions in order to work on the City’s largest public works projects. This bill will not only affect the non-union workers and companies, but also the non-union apprenticeship and returning citizens training programs in Baltimore. These programs will see an immediate disinvestment and lack of jobs.
Of the percentage that is non-union, 98% of workers are employed by Minority and Women-owned Enterprises (MWBEs). These, as well as small businesses and contractors are already responsible for paying prevailing living wage and health benefits. In addition, they pay the apprenticeship programs an hourly contribution percentage on large public works projects.
Minority workers are tremendously under-represented in Union membership. Organizations that are openly opposed to Union-Only Project Labor Agreements are the Maryland Minority Contractors Association, National Black Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Women Business Owners. Additionally, local small businesses will be required to pay into Union pension and healthcare funds that their workers will never gain access to.
Union-only, government mandated projects drive costs up to approximately 12 – 18%, compared to projects that are competitively bid through fair and open competition. The City Council has left out apprenticeships and returning citizen training programs in Baltimore City, like Project JumpStart. Associated Builders and Contractors is currently implementing the Construction Education Academy which will bring a training facility to city residence and create future jobs.
ABC Greater Baltimore is in the process of moving the entire facility from Baltimore county to East Baltimore City. This is a conscious effort to move closer and become accessible for residents who need training and jobs. The space will facilitate eleven classrooms, six hands-on shops and interactive labs for multi-craft training to assist in apprenticeship education and workforce development. This will minimize any barriers to entry for Baltimore City’s Construction careers.
Email your City Councilperson at www.bit.ly/buildbaltimore.com and help fight this bill!