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New construction projects will keep workers busy in 2019

Building trades leaders say this looks like a good year for their members. Topping the list of projects are National Fuel's Northern Access gas pipeline and the Athenex pharmaceutical drug plant in Dunkirk.

The courts have apparently cleared the last hurdle to the pipeline and Athenex work has started in Dunkirk. Both are listed as $600 million projects. Another high-profile job will be the removal of the former Robert Moses Parkway, beginning this week.

Building Trades Council President Paul Brown said there are also lower-profile jobs like the new emergency room complex at ECMC and a number of school district projects to upgrade facilities.

The opportunities are so plentiful, some are worried about having enough workers. Officials say they are addressing that possibility.

"We are constantly doing outreach for minority participants in our apprenticeship program, as well as women in the trade," said Carpenters Local 276 President Christopher Stone.

Stone said when it comes to big jobs his members are everywhere.

"Everything from heavy foundation pile driving, caissons, we do concrete foundation form work. We do flooring. We do interior systems - that is everything from drywall, metal studs, framing, grid ceilings," Stone said. "We do flooring, we do soft goods, carpet, tile, linoleum, you name it. Milling cabinets, we do the cabinets, we build 'em amd we install 'em."