New Law Ensures Prevailing Wage on Road Utility Jobs

ALBANY — New York Gov. Kathy Hochul announced on Aug. 16 she had signed legislation (S.4887/A.5608) into law, enacting the “Roadway Quality Assurance Act,” strengthening New York’s construction workforce by ensuring they are paid the prevailing wage. This requirement uplifts workers and local communities across New York State and contributes to reliable utility service for ratepayers, state officials said.   

“Our construction workers keep New Yorkers moving but are often underpaid for their hard and impactful work,” Gov.  Hochul said. “I am proud to sign this legislation that will provide construction workers with fair wages and allow them to support themselves, their families, and our local economy.”   

Legislation (S.4887/A.5608) amends the labor law to enact the “Roadway Excavation Quality Assurance Act” to protect workers on projects requiring the excavation or opening of a street. This legislation mandates that utility company contractors and subcontractors pay the prevailing wage to employees on projects where a permit to use, excavate, or open a street is required to be issued. 

State Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris said, “The workers who maintain and improve our infrastructure are vital to our communities and deserve a prevailing wage. It’s good for these skilled workers, and good for local economies across New York. I am pleased Governor Hochul is signing this bill.”

Assemblymember Karines Reyes said, “I applaud Governor Hochul for raising the wages of workers that fix our roads and strengthening our state’s local economies. By signing this legislation, the governor guarantees that roadway workers will receive the prevailing wage for their services and ensure that workers are paid commensurately for the vital skills that they deploy. This new law will enable this critical part of New York’s workforce to provide for their families and reinvest in local businesses. I am thankful to Senator Gianaris for his partnership in passing this bill, Governor Hochul for her leadership, and to LIUNA for their devotion to this effort.”

A host of organized labor leaders heralded the signing of the legislation.

Mario Cilento, President of the New York State AFL-CIO said, “We commend Governor Hochul for prioritizing safety while ensuring workers will be paid fairly for their labor. Requiring prevailing wage standards on roadway excavation projects will lead to the use of a highly trained and skilled workforce, help protect public safety and assist with utility service reliability,” he said. “We thank the governor for signing the bill and we thank the Democratic Majorities in both houses and the bill sponsors, Senate Deputy Majority Leader Mike Gianaris and Assemblymember Karines Reyes.”

Gary LaBarbera, President, New York State Building & Construction Trades Council added, “We thank Governor Hochul for signing this important piece of legislation that will benefit construction workers across New York.  Prevailing wages provide meaningful benefits to workers and the economy, as they enable the Building Trades to continue creating middle class family-sustaining careers. The new law will protect public safety and utility service reliability by ensuring these roadway excavation projects utilize a highly trained and skilled workforce. We look forward to continuing to work with the governor and our partners in the Legislature on other meaningful policies to benefit workers throughout this great state.”

Thomas A. Callahan, President of the New York State Conference of Operating Engineers said, “The NYS Conference of Operating Engineers thanks Governor Hochul for signing this bill into law.  Workers in this sector will now receive the wages and benefits they deserve.  We also want to thank the NYS Legislature—especially the sponsors—for passing this important bill.”

Dan Bianco, LIUNA Vice President and New England Regional Manager said, “For decades our union pushed to expand this requirement from just New York City to the rest of the state. This was a long and hard-fought battle by the men and women of the New York State Laborers that will benefit our membership indefinitely. We’d like to thank our valued colleagues in the Senate and Assembly, specifically Speaker Carl Heastie, Senate Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, bill sponsors NYS Senator Mike Gianaris and Assemblymember Karines Reyes, Senate Labor Chair Jessica Ramos and Assembly Labor Chair LaToya Joyner, who recognize the importance of paying solid wages to workers, safety, training and holding big utility companies accountable to the people their businesses serve. Most importantly, we thank Governor Kathy Hochul for standing shoulder-to-shoulder with proud LIUNA members and signing this legislation into law, and for being a strong ally to the union men and women who build New York from the ground up.”

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