In a deal brokered by City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside), Wolkoff agreed to several major givebacks in order to secure the special permit. He agreed to increase affordable units from 75 to 210 and he committed to building and staffing the building with 100 percent union workers.
“He scored variances that allowed him to build five times bigger than the zoning law allows with the promise he’d use the unions to build here,” Michael Donnelly, a council representative with the Council of Carpenters, said. “There are none, zero, union workers on this site except for the Teamsters delivering the cement. Jerry Wolkoff is not a man of his word. This is an absolute s**t show down here.”
Gary LaBarbera, the president of the Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York, agreed.
“We offered him a Project Labor Agreement and he didn’t want to sign it, he thought he could do better without an agreement,” LaBarbera said. “But we shook hands and he gave me his word. He committed that it would be a union job. Obviously his word means nothing.”
Wolkoff said he would never sign a PLA because it would increase the cost of the project by $30 million to $40 million.
“Look, I’ve got nothing against the unions, believe me, but it has to make sense. I have to be able to build at an affordable cost,” Wolkoff said. “I wouldn’t sign a PLA that would let them tell me who to hire and who to fire. In this game you’ve got a few chiefs and a lot of Indians when it comes to the unions. Say you’ve got a job for 40 workers and they’ll bring eight supervisors just to watch them. It gets silly and remember, I’ve got to build all those extra affordable units.”
Van Bramer is attempting to bring Wolkoff and LaBarbera together.
Well that's nice. Why not go to court and shut the project down since he's blatantly violating the agreement passed by the city council? Or does the council only go to court to support malls on parkland? I'd like to point out that this very move was predicted 2 1/2 years ago.
Hey labor unions, perhaps you may want to invest your dough in someone other than Jimmy.