“It is peak construction season in New York, yet many work zones are deserted – no blinking road signs, no bulldozers, and most importantly, no orange-vested workers,” said Senator Seward. “Thanks to inaction on the state budget, hundreds of hardworking individuals are being laid off, and critical infrastructure projects are left unfinished, jeopardizing public safety.”
Assemblyman Lopez stated, “People are being hurt, families are financially at risk. Albany leaders are using working families as pawns in a political contest of will. They need to begin the budget process in earnest to protect jobs, not lay people off.”
Lancaster Development, Inc. President Mark Galasso said, “The decision by the state to withhold contract payments is forcing construction companies to self-finance their projects. Obviously, no company can do so indefinitely. For Lancaster Development, this means that in addition to approximately 30 employees that we have been able to call back to work, we may be forced to lay off an additional 150 within the coming weeks as projects are shut down.”
An estimated 5,000 construction jobs already have been lost across the state due to Albany’s futile attempts to pass a state budget. While the governor authorized the use of $40 million in federal dollars for certain construction projects, these projects do not include any projects receiving any amount of state aid. With widespread concern over the loss of jobs, many, including the delegation today, called on the governor and legislative leaders to come to the table and resolve the budget impasse.
“I understand the governor is trying to bring parties to the budget negotiating table in Albany, but using innocent families as high stake poker chips is flat out wrong. The state needs to honor previous obligations and release funding for already approved construction projects,” added Seward.
To date, the governor and legislative leaders have made no meaningful efforts to save the thousands of jobs being lost due to their inaction. That’s why Senator Seward, Assemblyman Lopez, and Lancaster Development have united to launch the “No Work Here” construction sign campaign. The campaign will create greater public awareness of the loss of construction jobs and stalled projects in our own community by posting a variety of “No Work Here” construction signs, produced by Lancaster Development.
Headquartered in Richmondville, Lancaster Development is one of the contractors which has had to lay-off workers due to Albany’s inaction. Their $11.6 million contract to widen and reconstruct Route 30 in Amsterdam and their $43 million contract to reconstruct Exit 6 on the Northway are continuing for the time being at a slower than normal pace. Mr. Galasso stated, “The projects are up and running, the supplies purchased, the workers hired. Then Albany pulled the plug. Even though our projects receive some federal aid, because we also are dependent on state payments, the work that we are putting in place is not being paid for. Soon we will be unable to continue, which means that workers will be laid off and sent home indefinitely, without pay.”
The purpose of the campaign is to involve the public in urging the governor and legislative leaders to take action. Assemblyman Lopez stated, “When you drive down the street and wonder why road repairs are incomplete or see idle construction equipment alongside a highway project, it is important for residents to know that this is the direct result of the inaction in Albany. Governor Paterson, Speaker Sheldon Silver, and Senate leaders must take real action to protect jobs now.”