IBEW Rips Developers’ Distortions

June 26, 2014



Last year, a public policy center at Northeastern University in Boston released a report stating that the lack of affordable housing in Beantown could hurt the city’s economic recovery.


On June 10, recently-elected Mayor Marty Walsh, who has a strong history of supporting organized labor, underscored the need for real estate developers to add more of what he calls “workforce” housing to the city’s residential housing mix, not just upscale condos for high-paid professionals.

Some of Boston’s key real estate developers have responded to Walsh’s call for more affordable housing claiming that construction costs are too high to make it profitable to build lower-rent units. The developers claimed, “Labor costs have skyrocketed, driven, in part, by the shortage of skilled labor in the trades.”

In a guest commentary, “Taking Issue with DevelopersClaims about Affordable Housing,” published in the Boston Business Journal, Local 103 Business Manager Mike Monahan challenges the contention that high labor costs are at the root of the lack of affordable housing in the city.

Monahan says, “Going back to the argument labor costs have ‘skyrocketed,’ Mr. Hynes [a developer] seems to be of the opinion that, in the commonwealth, construction budgets 10 years ago were ‘half’ of what they are today. At IBEW Local 103 and across the skilled trades, our wages have not doubled in the past decade. The only fixed costs that exist in construction today are hourly wages of the building professionals hired by these same developers to rejuvenate our world-class city.”

Read Local 103’s full response.