Press Release

New York City’s Construction Unions and Real Estate Board of New York Sign Historic Cooperation Agreement


November 6, 2019

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Building Trades and REBNY Announce New Pro-Growth Framework on Development and Public Policy Issues;

Announce Creation of Two Joint Committees to Maximize Business-Labor Alignment

An agreement on a historic new framework to promote economically viable growth and development, while boosting private sector opportunities for union construction workers in New York City has been reached by the Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York (BCTC) and the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY). The two organizations share a mutual commitment to the long-term health of the city’s economy, the real estate industry, and middle-class construction jobs and have joined together to create a Joint Industry Advancement Committee (JIAC) to pursue these aims.

“The construction industry’s labor and real estate ownership and development components represent different constituencies, but we share countless common goals,” said Gary LaBarbera, the President of the BCTC. “By finding bold new ways to reinforce the interests we share, we will increase opportunities for well-paid, middle-class jobs with health, retirement and other benefits for a larger and more diverse population of New Yorkers and their families.”

“New York City’s real estate industry fuels hundreds of thousands of good paying jobs that provide a pathway to the middle class,” said REBNY President Jim Whelan. “Organized labor is a critical partner in making sure New York continues to grow and thrive. This milestone framework gives both labor and owners new opportunities to build upon our successes, to find new ways to cooperate, to minimize contention and misunderstanding, and to fortify New York City’s status as a global capital.”

BCTC and REBNY have created two sub-committees to effectuate these goals:

  • The Development Sub-Committee will focus on policies that impact overall development, employment, standards of living, and diversity. The agreement states that REBNY members “generally prefer to develop their projects with skilled labor” and acknowledge that “there can be value added by utilizing union construction workers” on their projects. This added value derives from “the substantial investment in training undertaken by organized labor unions and their contractors.” The goal is to facilitate open competitive bidding for all solicitations, with developers evaluating all bids pursuant to their business judgment. Additionally, this will be in accordance with the framework’s principles that value training, safety, productivity, contractor integrity and competitiveness, among other factors that lead to safe, efficient and quality development.

  • The Legislative Group Sub-Committee will identify ways to harmonize “political and legislative objectives in the mutual interest of BCTC and REBNY,” according to the agreement.  The parties further agree to work collaboratively when proposing new laws or regulations on “issues of mutual interest” and to keep each other informed on matters where their interests may diverge.


The Building & Construction Trades Council of Greater New York (BCTC)  consists of local affiliates of 15 national and international unions representing 100,000 working men and women in New York City. The BCTC has continued to diversify its membership and according to a 2017 Economic Policy Institute report, a majority of BCTC members are minorities. BCTC also leads the The Edward J. Malloy Initiative for Construction Skills, which has placed over 2,100 New York City residents (89% minorities) into unionized apprenticeship programs.

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The Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY) is the City’s leading real estate trade association.  Founded in 1896, REBNY represents commercial, residential, and institutional property owners, builders, managers, investors, brokers, and salespeople; banks, financial service companies, utilities, attorneys, architects, and contractors; corporations, co-partnerships, and individuals professionally interested in New York City real estate.

REBNY conducts research on various civic matters including tax policy, city planning and zoning, rental conditions, land use policy, building codes, and other city, state, and federal legislation. REBNY regularly publishes market data, policy reports, and broker surveys. In addition, REBNY provides for its members: informational, technical, and technological resources; networking and charitable service opportunities; qualifying and continuing education courses; professional education programs, seminars, and designations; career-changing awards; legal advice; and a wide range of additional member benefits. For more information, please visit

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Sara Klein

(212) 616-5253

Greg Wagner  

(212) 402-3527