Design-Build should expire and return to Legislative Purview
Current law authorizes carte-blanche authority for a limited number of state agencies to circumvent competitive bidding for construction. This was initially passed in a special session in December of 2011, was extended for a short period and is now set to expire. This alternative to competitive bidding is known as design-build and the executive budget proposes to make the law permanent, expand the types of eligible projects and expand it to every state agency, public authority, SUNY, CUNY and each county outside New York City.
The New York State AFL-CIO has long opposed granting authority of any government entity to end-round competitive bidding laws because enforcement and oversight of labor protections are closely tied to competitive bidding. Just as important, competitive bidding laws provide transparency and public oversight of the contracting process to ensure it is open and fair. Design-build weakens labor protections by changing this process.
Proponents claim design-build allows faster project approval at a savings. There is no evidence that shows savings or that any approved projects would not have happened otherwise. Design-build simply makes it easier for bids that may not reflect the true cost of a project be approved because design-build awards contracts on the subjective basis of “best value” as opposed to the more objective “lowest responsible bidder”. This in fact opens the door to costlier bids and to bidders with bad labor records or bad environmental, insurance or minority and women hiring histories.
In limited circumstances, design-build may make sense. In those instances, the legislature and executive have always had the ability to approve design-build contracting but at the same time ensure all of the appropriate worker and relevant protections are in place. It is time to return to that process and allow the design-build law to expire.
Mario Cilento, President
Call To Action
NURSES ISSUES MEETING
Monday, January 30, 2017, 12:00 p.m.
100 South Swan St., Albany, NY
Issue of the Week
Support the Momentive Chemical Plant Workers Who Have Been On Strike for Almost Three Months
Workers Fight Dramatic Cuts to Health Care & Pensions
Please Join Us On
Tuesday, January 31, 1:30 p.m.
LCA Press Room, Albany LOB
700 members of IUE-CWA Locals 81359 and 81380 have been on strike at Momentive Manufacturing in Waterford, NY since November 2nd. They are fighting massive health care cuts for active workers, and to stop the complete elimination of health and life insurance coverage for retirees— many of whom retire with work-related illnesses. Since Momentive was spun off from General Electric to big private equity firms in 2006, wages have been slashed up to 50 percent and pensions frozen.
Meanwhile giant hedge fund managers have loaded Momentive with $3 billion in debt and charged $640 million in management fees at the expense of workers and their community.
The company recently brought in unskilled workers to keep the plant operational—resulting in a ten-fold increase of chemical accidents at the plant. The chemicals handled at the plant can result in exposure illness for the surrounding neighborhood if mishandled.