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Actor Robert De Niro has chosen to use merit shop labor as opposed to union labor on a film complex, Wildflower Studios, he is building in Astoria, New York. Despite protests outside the site calling for De Niro to switch to union, he has stated (via a spokesman) that “it’s essential not to exclude non-union workers from being awarded our construction jobs.”

In an open letter to the Astoria Post, Associated Builders and Contractors Empire State Chapter President Brian Sampson supports this choice. “What has happened for this project is what should happen on all construction projects: the owner picked the most qualified and capable contractor who also employs individuals from the community to build the job, regardless of labor affiliation,” Sampson writes. “This project has the potential to create thousands of jobs that should be filled by as many individuals from the five boroughs as possible.”

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