NEW YORK – The Building Trades Union set up a demonstration across from a construction site here March 12 to protest the non-union construction site at the corner of 6th Ave. and 17th St.

Jack Laboz, owner-developer of the site, was singled out by a task force set up by the unions in May 2001. The task force documented all union and non-union construction sites in the Chelsea, Flatiron and Union Square areas of the city.

Their findings showed a possible collusion between the contractors that hired non-union workers. They also implied that developers, including Laboz, pay wages in cash, therefore avoiding taxes. As a result, hundreds of millions of dollars are lost in tax revenue. This revenue could be used to support much-needed programs, such as schools, health care, senior citizen programs and affordable housing.

The Building Trades Unions plan on conducting a campaign to create legislation mandating that all non-union contractors be responsible for payroll accountability, enababling City, State and Federal revenues be collected and serve the people as a whole.

The study also showed that wages were sometimes withheld for long periods as a means of holding workers hostage at a low-paying job. The highest wage of skilled non-union workers is $13 and $15 an hour and $5 to $6 an hour for non-skilled workers.