Press Release

Contact:, (212) 306-3322

Local 79: Richard Weiss
NYCHA Joins with Construction & General Building Laborers’ Local 79, MTDC to Celebrate the Addition of More Than 200 Public Housing Residents to the Union

 The New York City Housing Authority joined with Laborers’ Local 79 of the Mason Tenders District Council (MTDC) of Greater New York to celebrate the addition of more than 200 NYCHA residents into the union at a job site luncheon on Tuesday, November 15, 2011 at 12:00 p.m. in Harlem’s Johnson Houses. There are 35 NYCHA laborers, members of MTDC’s Laborers’ Local 79, currently working at Johnson Houses, 11 of which secured their jobs through NYCHA’s Section 3 efforts.

Through partnership with other agencies and the successful leveraging of private/public resources, NYCHA offers training and employment services to its residents.  Residents are referred for employment either within NYCHA or through its contractors, training, GED and ESL classes, and apprenticeships. The Section 3 regulation under the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has also provided economic opportunities for residents with NYCHA’s contractors. The Section 3 program requires that recipients of certain HUD financial assistance, to the greatest extent possible, provide job training, employment, and contract opportunities for low- or very-low income residents in connection with projects and activities in their neighborhoods.

In 2003, NYCHA created the CM/Build Program, which requires construction management companies used in capital projects to participate in apprenticeship programs, in order to foster employment opportunities for residents and increase the number of residents hired under Section 3.  Through the CM/Build Program, unions like the MTDC and contractors have made these resident hires possible.

“Empowering NYCHA residents through educational opportunity, workforce training, and job opportunities is a central part of the Authority’s mission,” said NYCHA Chairman John B. Rhea. “One of NYCHA’s assets is the creation of and access to jobs either directly or through the agency’s contractors and vendors.  We appreciate our collaboration with Local 79 and our contracting partners as we continue to help our residents achieve their financial goals.”

“Partnering with NYCHA has proven to be great success,” said Victor Rizzo, Secretary-Treasurer of the 9,000-member Local 79.  “Through our apprenticeship program, NYCHA residents learn the skills necessary to have a successful career in the organized construction industry.   And our union adds qualified, motivated members to our ranks.  The CM/Build Program is a win-win for all of us.”


The New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) provides decent and affordable housing in a safe and secure living environment for low- and moderate-income residents throughout the five boroughs. A total of 633,177 New Yorkers are served by NYCHA’s Public Housing and Section 8 Programs.


The Construction & General Laborers Local 79 is an affiliated local union of the 17,000 Mason Tenders' District Council of Greater New York and Long Island (MTDC).  Members of the MTDC local unions include construction workers, asbestos and hazardous materials handlers, Catholic High School teachers, recycling and waste handlers.

With over 9,000 members, Laborers' Local 79 serves the five boroughs of New York City.

Established in 1996, Local 79's scope of work includes: mason tending; interior and total demolition; general conditions; plasterer tending; mortar mixing (for bricklayers); white mortar mixing (for plasterers); fire watch; fire proof mixing;  burning and torch operations; scaffolding; restoration work; temporary heat; core-drilling; OSHA safety training; concrete cutting, and; flagging.