In case you haven’t heard, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo recently reached a huge deal with the New York Thruway Authority and the state’s Building Trades unions to build the Tappan Zee Bridge under a Project Labor Agreement (PLA). The project, which will create 45,000 jobs, is one of the nation’s largest proposed infrastructure projects and will cost an estimated $5.2 billion. It has been reported that the PLA will save the project $452 million, much coming from unions agreeing to a 4-day work week of 10-hour days in order to greatly reduce overtime. The project has been a top priority both for Gov. Cuomo and President Obama, who named the Tappan Zee one of 14 U.S. projects to be sped through federal oversight protocols in December.
“This agreement will save taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars, while putting in place important protections for our workers,” Cuomo said. “For too long we have talked about replacing the Tappan Zee, and we cannot wait any longer.”
Besides the $104 million that is estimated to be saved from reducing overtime, other savings are predicted:
Another part of the deal would save $59 million by giving workers $25 a day in expense money rather than an hour of overtime if they arrive one hour prior to their shift to be taken to the work site.
Some unions have raised concern about the off-site fabrication of steel for the bridge, but the agreement anticipates $27 million in savings from the off-site construction.
Unions also agreed to a 40-hour work week, rather than 35 hours, the agreement states. That would save $9 million, according to the deal.
An agreement between unions and the New York Thruway Authority had previously failed twice over the prefabrication apprehension because it would have cut out the Metallic Lathers and Reinforcing Ironworkers Local 46 and cost New York workers roughly $40 million in wages.
Importantly, The PLA includes an increased apprenticeship quotient, as many PLAs do, which ensures a full-staffed skilled workforce in the future.
“Replacing the Tappan Zee Bridge represents one of the largest public infrastructure projects in the nation, and the agreement reached today will allow thousands of New York’s working men and women to secure good jobs building a new, safer bridge,” Mr. Cuomo said in a statement.