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Local 79 Pay Scale: A Detailed Look At Wages For Construction Workers

If you work in construction in New York City, you’re probably familiar with Local 79. As the largest local of the Laborers International Union of North America (LIUNA), Local 79 represents tens of thousands of construction workers across the five boroughs.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: Local 79 pay scale depends on the trade classification and experience level of each worker. Hourly wages typically range from around $30 for laborers and helpers to over $50 for highly skilled journeypersons.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll take an in-depth look at Local 79 pay scales for the various construction trades they represent. We’ll cover apprentice and journey level wages, overtime and benefit rates, and how your pay increases with experience.

Whether you’re a current Local 79 member or are considering joining, read on to learn all about the union’s pay scales.

Background on Local 79 and Union Pay Scales

History and Membership of Local 79

Local 79 is a labor union that represents construction workers in New York City. It was established in 1937 and has since grown to become one of the largest labor unions in the city. The union represents a wide range of construction workers, including laborers, masons, carpenters, and plumbers.

With a strong focus on advocating for the rights and well-being of its members, Local 79 has played a crucial role in shaping the construction industry in New York City. The union has been instrumental in negotiating fair wages, benefits, and safer working conditions for its members.

Membership in Local 79 is open to all construction workers who meet the union’s eligibility criteria. By joining the union, workers gain access to a host of benefits, including higher wages, healthcare coverage, retirement plans, and job security.

New York

How Union Pay Scales Work

Union pay scales, including those implemented by Local 79, are designed to ensure that construction workers receive fair compensation for their labor. These pay scales are determined through collective bargaining between the union and construction contractors.

One of the main advantages of union pay scales is that they provide a standardized system for determining wages.

Instead of wages being set on an individual basis, union pay scales take into account factors such as job type, experience, and skill level. This helps to promote fairness and prevent wage disparities among workers performing similar tasks.

Union pay scales also typically include provisions for regular wage increases based on factors such as inflation or cost of living adjustments. This helps to ensure that workers’ wages keep pace with the changing economic conditions.

It is important to note that union pay scales may vary depending on the specific trade or craft.

For example, a plumber may have a different pay scale compared to a carpenter or a laborer. The pay scales are usually outlined in collective bargaining agreements between the union and construction contractors.

If you would like more information on Local 79 and their pay scales, you can visit their official website

Local 79 Wage Rates by Trade


Construction laborers employed by Local 79 enjoy competitive wages that reflect the demanding nature of their work.

According to Local 79, the wage rates for laborers range from $35 to $45 per hour, depending on factors such as experience and specialization.

These rates are set through collective bargaining agreements and are designed to ensure fair compensation for the physical labor and skills required in the construction industry.

Mason Tenders

Mason tenders, who provide support to masons by preparing and transporting materials, also receive favorable wages.

The wage rates for mason tenders within Local 79 vary between $40 and $50 per hour. This reflects the importance of their role in ensuring smooth operations at construction sites and the skills needed to handle construction materials safely and efficiently.

Tunnel Workers

Tunnel workers, who specialize in underground construction projects, are compensated at a higher rate due to the unique challenges they face.

According to Local 79, tunnel workers can earn between $40 and $50 per hour. These rates take into account the specialized training and expertise required to work in confined spaces and handle complex tunneling equipment.

Tunnel Workers

Asbestos Workers

Asbestos workers, who deal with the safe removal and disposal of asbestos-containing materials, are highly skilled and play a crucial role in maintaining a safe working environment.

The wage rates for asbestos workers in Local 79 range from $45 to $54 per hour. These rates reflect the specialized training and expertise required to handle hazardous materials and ensure the safety of both workers and the public.


Welders within Local 79 are in high demand due to the need for skilled metalwork in construction projects.

The wage rates for welders range from $42 to $52 per hour, reflecting their expertise in joining metals and the importance of their role in ensuring the structural integrity of various construction components.


Steamfitters, who specialize in installing and maintaining piping systems for heating, cooling, and other utilities, are compensated at competitive rates.

According to Local 79, steamfitters can earn between $44 and $54 per hour. These rates reflect the technical skills and expertise required to work with complex piping systems and ensure their proper functioning.


Carpenters employed by Local 79 are skilled craftsmen who work with wood and other building materials to construct and repair structures.

According to Local 79, carpenters can earn between $44 and $54 per hour, depending on experience and specialization. These rates reflect the high level of skill and precision required in carpentry work.

Operating Engineers

Operating engineers, who operate and maintain heavy equipment such as cranes and bulldozers, are compensated at competitive rates within Local 79.

The wage rates for operating engineers range from $46 to $56 per hour, reflecting the specialized skills and training required to safely and efficiently operate heavy machinery.


Cement Masons

Cement masons, who specialize in working with concrete and other masonry materials, play a crucial role in construction projects.

The wage rates for cement masons within Local 79 vary between $45 and $55 per hour, depending on experience and specialization. These rates reflect the physical demands and skills required in working with concrete and other masonry materials.

It is important to note that wage rates can vary based on factors such as location, project type, and market conditions. The rates mentioned above are approximate figures and may be subject to change.

For the most accurate and up-to-date information, it is recommended to consult the official website of Local 79 or contact their representative directly.

Pay Rate Factors: Experience, Overtime, and Benefits

When it comes to the Local 79 pay scale for construction workers, several factors come into play to determine the wages they receive. These factors include experience, overtime, and benefits.

Apprentice vs. Journeyman Wages

One of the key factors that affect the pay rate for construction workers is their level of experience. Local 79 has different pay scales for apprentices and journeyman workers.

Apprentices are typically entry-level workers who are still learning the trade, while journeyman workers have completed their training and have a higher level of expertise.

Apprentices typically start at a lower pay rate, which gradually increases as they gain more experience and complete their training. On the other hand, journeyman workers who have completed their apprenticeship and have several years of experience can earn higher wages.

This pay difference reflects the difference in skills and expertise between the two levels of workers.

Overtime Pay Rates

Overtime work is common in the construction industry, and Local 79 has specific provisions in place to ensure that workers are fairly compensated for their extra hours. Overtime pay rates are usually higher than regular pay rates and are designed to incentivize workers to take on additional hours when needed.

For example, if a worker is required to work more than 40 hours in a week, they are entitled to overtime pay, typically at a rate of 1.5 times their regular pay rate. This means that for every additional hour worked beyond the standard 40 hours, the worker will receive one and a half times their regular pay.

Health and Pension Benefits

Aside from wages, construction workers who are part of Local 79 also receive health and pension benefits. These benefits are an important part of the overall compensation package and provide workers with essential coverage for medical expenses and a secure retirement.

The specific details of the health and pension benefits can vary, but generally, workers receive coverage for medical, dental, and vision expenses. They may also have access to a pension plan, which allows them to save for retirement and receive regular payments once they reach a certain age.

It’s important to note that these benefits are often negotiated as part of collective bargaining agreements between the union and employers. The goal is to ensure that workers receive fair compensation and have access to essential benefits that support their overall well-being.

For more information about the Local 79 pay scale and the specific wages, overtime rates, and benefits offered to workers, you can visit the official website of Local 79.

How to Join Local 79 and Start Your Career

Eligibility Requirements

Joining Local 79 is a great way to kickstart your career in the construction industry. However, there are certain eligibility requirements that you need to meet in order to become a member.

These requirements may vary depending on your location, but generally include being at least 18 years old, having a high school diploma or equivalent, and being physically fit to perform the duties of a construction worker.

It’s also important to note that Local 79 is an equal opportunity organization, so everyone is welcome to apply.

The Application Process

Once you meet the eligibility requirements, you can begin the application process to join Local 79.

The first step is to fill out an application form, which can usually be found on the union’s website or at their local office. The application will ask for personal information, such as your name, contact details, and work experience.

It may also require you to provide references from previous employers or colleagues who can vouch for your skills and work ethic. After submitting your application, you may be invited for an interview or evaluation to assess your suitability for the union.

Finding a Union Contractor Job

After successfully joining Local 79, you gain access to a wide range of job opportunities with union contractors. These contractors have a reputation for providing competitive wages, benefits, and a safe working environment.

To find a union contractor job, you can reach out to the union’s job placement services or browse their online job board. Additionally, attending union-sponsored job fairs and networking events can help you connect with potential employers.

It’s important to stay proactive in your job search and take advantage of the resources and support offered by Local 79.

Joining Local 79 not only provides you with a stable and rewarding career in the construction industry, but also offers numerous benefits such as healthcare coverage, retirement plans, and access to training and education programs.

So, if you’re looking to start your career in construction and want to be a part of a strong and supportive community, consider joining Local 79.

Contractor Job


In summary, Local 79 offers strong pay scales for NYC construction workers, with hourly wages ranging from around $30 to over $50 depending on skills and experience.

While apprentices start lower on the pay scale, they can work their way up to excellent journey-level wages with full union benefits.

If you want a rewarding construction career, joining Local 79 is an excellent path forward. The union will provide training, job placement services, and advocate for your workplace rights. Use this guide to better understand Local 79 pay scales as you take the first steps in your new career.

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