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Labor group files suit to revive RCSD school modernization deal

The Rochester Building Trades Council has filed a state court action in a bid to reinstate a canceled labor agreement covering the Rochester City School District’s $1.3 billion school modernization project.

The court action, filed Tuesday, asks for a preliminary injunction ordering reinstatement of the project labor agreement. The union organization’s bid follows a vote by a board overseeing the massive building project’s implementation to reject the second installment of a project labor agreement that had been in place for the project’s first phase. 

The rejection came in a 4-3 vote with members appointed by Democratic city Mayor Lovely Warren in the majority. Members opposed to the Phase II renewal questioned whether the Building Trades Council had provided adequate opportunities for minorities.

The board’s vote to kill the agreement violates the law on several counts, the union organization charges. The organized labor group, a coalition of 18 area building trades unions, helped write provisions calling for minority and female involvement and hewed to those provisions, the union organization states.

The Building Trades Council “worked with unions, contractors and apprenticeship programs to foster minority and female recruiting,” the group’s petition states.

An audit conducted by a company hired by the city certified that minority and female hiring goals were met and actually exceeded in the project’s first phase. The labor agreement’s cancellation will actually mean fewer opportunities for woman and minorities, add $14 million to the project’s costs and create unneeded delays, the union organization maintains.

An order signed by state Supreme Court Justice John Ark on Tuesday calls for members of the appointed board overseeing the project to appear in court Sept. 7 to show cause why the labor organization’s bid for a preliminary injunction should not be approved.
(c) 2016 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or e-mail rbj@rbj.net.


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