Wilkinson Technologies, Lafayette, La., is supplying robotic welders to the Tappan Zee bridge project. These 25 robotic welders — which require a four-person crew each — are helping to speed installation of the bridge's giant piles. However, the robotic welders have also sparked a new disagreement among organized laber, nonunion groups and the New York Thruway Authority over the job's project labor agreement, according to an article from Engineering News-Record.
“Non-union employees don’t get a fair shot at working on this project,” said Ben Brubeck, director of government affairs for the Associated Builders and Contractors.
According to the article, a Thruway Authority spokesman said all labor alternatives, including the machines from Wilkinson, have been necessary because expertise is lacking.