Definition of Public Work 

Definition of Public Work

A.5498-A (Bronson) – S.2975-A (Murphy)

This bill would create a statutory definition of “public work,” a significant designation that triggers the prevailing wage requirement.  The prevailing wage requirement puts all contractors – union and nonunion – on a level playing field with respect to wages and forces low-road and out-of-state contractors to compete based on skill and efficiency and NOT based on how low they can pay their workers.  


Cornell School of Industrial and Labor Relations Report:

“NY has an opportunity to promote responsible economic

development by broadening scope of prevailing wage law

so that ‘public work’ includes all publicly-assisted projects”


NYS Building & Construction Trades Council Calls on Legislature,

Governor to Close the Prevailing Wage Loophole in State Budget

Did you know???

New York State hands out hundreds of millions of dollars to private entities in the name of "economic development."


When these projects include a construction component, these private entities can use this money to pay construction workers the minimum wage. 


As a result, it is not uncommon to see out-of-state license plates on these construction projects.  That's not a smart economic development program, and it certainly runs contrary to the State's labor policies.

Prevailing Wages Build Strong

Middle Class Communities!

Workers who receive the prevailing wage are productive members of the middle class, capable of buying homes, raising families, supporting local businesses, and paying taxes. They are also more self-sufficient, more likely to have health insurance and retirement benefits, and less likely to rely on government subsidies. 

  • For every dollar spent on a prevailing wage project, $1.50 in economic activity is generated locally. 


  • States that have no or weak prevailing wage laws spend $360 million more per year on food stamps and Earned Income Tax Credits for blue collar construction workers than states with average or strong prevailing wage laws. 

  • Construction workers in states with strong/average prevailing wage laws contribute over $5.3 billion more in federal income taxes (on average after credits and deductions) per year than their counterparts in states with weak or no prevailing wage laws. 

Learn More About the Benefits of Prevailing Wage Here!

A new, independent study, “New York State Prevailing Wage Law: Defining Public Work,” released today by Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations, concludes: “Expanding the scope of New York’s prevailing wage law to encompass the current forms and scale of public investment would align the founder’s original intent with present-day realities and broaden New York’s overall economic development strategy.”



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Fax: 518-435-9204

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