In a possible harbinger of a new political climate facing residential developers in the city under an increasingly activist city government, the new Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, several City Council members and the powerful building workers union 32BJ SEIU will rally outside of the Manhattan offices of residential developer TF Cornerstone Wednesday afternoon demanding changes in the way it treats workers at its buildings.
32BJ SEIU has long been at odds with TF Cornerstone, the developer that had built up much of the Long Island City waterfront in recent years, and which was recently selected by the city to develop the second phase of Hunters Point South just to the south of its earlier towers. The union has alleged the developer's treatment of some of its building service workers is not up to the union's standards, and has demanded that the developer adopt industry-wide benchmarks for pay and benefits, something the developer said it has already done.
"TF Cornerstone pays its building workers equal or better-than union wages at all of its residential properties around New York City," a spokesman for the developer said.
Although this is not the first clash between the union and the developer, Wednesday's rally, which called for "a new day for development," is now taking place in a more liberal administration, which some in the Progressive Caucus, including City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Queens), said bodes well for labor's cause.
"I think there is progressive moment in the city of New York that is reflected in Mayor [Bill] de Blasio, Speaker [Melissa] Mark-Viverito and folks like myself," said Mr. Van Bramer, the Council's majority leader who was set to attend the rally. "I definitely feel like there is a lot of momentum when it comes to us making sure that government projects come with an affordable housing component, and also that labor is at the table."