Empire Center sues DOT for hiding study

The Empire Center for Public Policy today announced its lawsuit against the New York State Department of Transportation (DOT) for refusing to disclose a study DOT claims justified forcing bidders to sign a deal with specific construction unions.

DOT last year sought and then scrapped bids for construction work on the Empire State Trail in and near Syracuse. The Department re-bid the project with the condition that firms agree to sign what’s known as a project labor agreement (PLA) which required them to hire workers through Syracuse-area union halls. DOT received fewer bids, and ultimately awarded the work to a bidder whose price was over $1.5 million more than the lowest first-round bid.

The Department claimed the legally required study showed a mandatory PLA would save money, but when the Empire Center requested the study last year under the state Freedom of Information Law, DOT refused to release it.

“The public interest is never served when the government forces businesses to sign project labor agreements,” said Tim Hoefer, president and CEO of the Empire Center. “The facts surrounding this project are proof that state agencies have been needlessly inflating the cost of public construction.”

The Empire Center is involved in similar litigation to force other state agencies, including the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) and the New York State Energy Research & Development Authority (NYSERDA), to release records sought under the Freedom of Information Law.

You can view the DOT lawsuit here.

1 Comment

  1. If employees are not satisfied with the working conditions, why do they then sign contracts with companies. I do not understand why people agree to conditions that they are not satisfied with. I know of many cases when employees tried to sue companies. But they were losing litigation precisely because they signed a contract without reading it when they were hired. In all medical institutions and banks, we are given a document for signature. If you can’t concentrate to read the contract carefully, do it at home. Take a photo of the contract, read it at home, and only then sign it. It is very important!!

Leave a Reply