The employees of Greater Worcester’s merit shop contractors are a true community resource. They are skilled, licensed and well compensated tradespeople. These employees are your neighbors, live in and around Worcester, and are invested as much as anyone in the future of this great city.
In a letter the Worcester City Council, MCA says discussion of local employment of Worcester residents, women and minorities on the Worcester stadium project is incomplete and insincere if it fails to recognize that most construction workers in Massachusetts work for merit-shop contractors.
The Hon. Candy F. Mero-Carlson
City Councilor and Economic Development Chair
City Hall, Room 206
455 Main Street
Worcester, MA 01608
Via electronic mail and U.S. mail
RE: Ballpark Construction and Related Development
September 5, 2018
Dear Councilor Mero-Carlson,
As the distinguished Economic Development Committee considers the important question of whether to undertake the stadium and Canal District redevelopment project, the Merit Construction Alliance of Massachusetts, Inc., offers the following observations for consideration:
- The hardworking citizens and taxpayers of Worcester who are owners or employees of open-shop construction companies stand ready, willing and able to compete on a fair and level playing field to win and perform the work to the highest standards of quality and value.
- Greater Worcester is home to scores of open-shop construction firms that are state-approved to perform public construction. They are responsible employers that meet or exceed state and federal laws and regulations relative to wages, health insurance, benefits and jobsite safety. They invest in their workforce through training and apprenticeship programs. They employ city residents and pay their fair share of Worcester property and excise taxes. They are good corporate citizens who support the community through charitable donations and civic participation.
- The employees of Greater Worcester’s merit shop contractors are a true community resource. They are skilled, licensed and well compensated tradespeople. MCA member employees receive employer-paid sick time, holidays, and vacation, as well as matches to 401(K) retirement plans. These employees are your neighbors, live in and around Worcester, and are invested as much as anyone in the future of this great city.
- Discussion of local employment of Worcester residents, women and minorities is incomplete and insincere if it fails to recognize that most construction workers in Massachusetts work for merit-shop contractors. (83.2% of MA construction employees worked for open shops in 2017, according to unionstats.com, an unbiased database that uses U.S. Census data.)
- A great many of these women and men working for open-shop construction firms live and work in or near Worcester and should be included in this project, rather than excluded – as has been suggested by some in prior testimony to the committee that advocated for union-only construction. Hardworking tradespeople who choose not to join organized labor deserve an equal shot to work on city-funded construction and should not fear their government will favor special interests over them.
- As the City Manager wrote to the Council, “The City of Worcester will own and construct the Ballpark and will adhere to all applicable public procurement laws in the Common-wealth of Massachusetts.” As a public project, the ballpark will be subject to the Prevailing Wage Law, which sets the wages and benefits, ensuring all workers – whether non-union or union – receive the pay to which they are entitled.
- State laws protect the taxpayers and create a fair and level playing field for all qualified contractors and their employees. The ballpark is a public project and no basis exists to treat its method of construction differently than any other publicly funded project, as again has been suggested in testimony.
- The City Manager, referring to adjacent construction of the two hotels and apartment building, wrote to the Council, “The developer has been provided a copy of the City of Worcester’s TIF Policy, which extends to the both the EDIP and HDIP, and has agreed to comply with the provisions of the policy.” The developer, the Council and the City Manager should realize that making the best effort to achieve the hiring goals in the policy can only be done by inviting open shop contractors to bid and work. Open-shop contractors employ the vast majority of construction workers. Exclusion of four out of five construction workers will make achieving hiring goals exceedingly difficult.
- The overall project is described as a partnership with the city, the ballclub and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. As such, money from taxpayers across Massachusetts will make this overall project possible. Worcester should not attempt to block those taxpayers from competing to work on the public and private portions of the project.
On behalf of the merit-shop community, I thank you, your committee and the entire City Council for the anticipated thoughtful and careful consideration of the project and look forward to seeing construction of a new ballpark and related developments using the legally required methods to ensure fair and open competition.
Merit Construction Alliance