After reviewing a package of proposals by the Hudson County Building & Construction Trades Council (HCBCTC), Weehawken, New Jersey Mayor Richard Turner has praised union work and set goals for Project Labor Agreements to be used on new projects along his city’s waterfront developments.
“The unions have put together a competitive package,” Turner said. “We would like to see the jobs stay local, considering the local employment problems this area is having.”
Located next to Jersey City in the shadow of Manhattan, Weehawken is thriving with six construction projects underway or soon to begin. Turner agrees with HCBCTC President Patrick Kelleher that the best way to approach local work is by using local workers:
“When projects like this go to out of state workers, the money the workers earn gets spent out of state, and does nothing to help the local economy,” Kelleher told the freeholders. “We would like to see these jobs stay here in Hudson County.”
Mayor Turner has been acting as liaison between the unions and developers. The local Board of Freeholders has a very pro-union history but has little say due to the fact that these developments are being built without state or federal funding.
“None of these need county freeholder or county planning board approvals,” he said. “There may be a time down the road when that changes, but for now the freeholders have no say in this.”
Turner hopes the developers, Hartz Mountain Industries, will work with unions to maximize the stimulus effect these projects will have on the community.
“The developer and the unions are talking,” Turner said. “Myself and other concerned people are interested in keeping the door open to the unions. We’re very optimistic that there will be a positive outcome to this.”
Union work means high quality work, Turner said, and it means jobs going to local residents.
“What the unions are offering as far as wages and other things is very competitive to what the developer can get with non-union,” Turner said.