Friday, June 27, 2008

Unions love Willets Point land grab

Thursday, June 26th 2008

(Gill for News - Central Labor Council and Queens pols speak Thursday on steps of City Hall to laud deal on Willets Point development jobs.)

Some of New York's biggest union leaders lined up on the steps of City Hall Thursday to cheer Mayor Bloomberg's new megadevelopment plan - the $3 billion Willets Point project in Queens.

One after another, they gave glowing praise to one more giveaway to real estate developers - one that had been opposed by a majority of the City Council.

The labor leaders touted the "historic" concessions on future jobs at Willets Point they claim to have secured from City Hall in return for backing the project.

When asked about the 225 private businesses and 1,300 current workers that would be forced to move out of Willets Point if the Council approves the mayor's plan, the union leaders were mum on labor solidarity.

Ed Ott, director of the Central Labor Council, began stumbling over his words and looked perplexed when a reporter asked about the small percentage of affordable housing the city was slating for Willets Point.

He did not address the matter of whether City Hall should even be using the power of eminent domain to take private land from one group of citizens only to hand it over to a more powerful private group.

Bloomberg, meanwhile, says he simply wants to transform the 61-acre maze of dirt streets, junkyards and industrial businesses - an area the city has virtually abandoned for decades - into a $3 billion wonderland of retail shops, movie theaters, office buildings, a hotel, a convention center, 6,000 units of largely market-rate housing and even a public school.

"It's just a big land grab," says Dan Feinstein, whose family has run Feinstein Ironworks in Willets Point for more than 75 years.

"How in the world does the mayor justify what he's trying to do?" Feinstein says. "He's nationalizing our property like we're in Venezuela or Russia, then determining which of his friends will get it."

City Councilman Hiram Monserrate (D-Queens), who represents Willets Point, has made it clear from the start that he won't support any rezoning of the area that doesn't address things like good-paying permanent jobs, fair relocation of existing businesses and workers, and a significant amount of affordable housing.

Monserrate has lined up 28 fellow members out of 51 to publicly oppose the plan.

That explains why City Hall decided to announce an agreement with union leaders on jobs. Bloomberg's aides will ask the unions to be the mayor's foot soldiers to pressure the Council on behalf of the project.

Until now, most unions stayed away from rezoning or economic development issues, except for the construction trades, which City Hall could always count on to back giant projects that generated jobs.

A few months ago, the Central Labor Council began meeting quietly with City Hall to hammer out new agreements about the "nature of development and how it affects people in the community," said Stuart Appelbaum, president of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union.

With Bloomberg and his aides rezoning scores of neighborhoods to create instant sources of new wealth potential for developers, the labor leaders realized it was time to demand more benefits for workers and local communities.

"This is the first time we went as a group to negotiate," Ott said Thursday.

They won some significant concessions. There's a commitment to require any developer to provide prevailing wages for construction, service workers and security guards, as well as a "living wage" of $10 an hour or more to retail workers.

Hotel workers union leader Peter Ward said he expected any hotel on the site to allow an expedited "card check" method for unionization instead of the more drawnout process of holding a union election.

"I would have preferred more," one union leader admitted to me Thursday, "but it's a start."

In order to win those concessions, though, the union leaders ignored how the city is treating existing businesses and workers at Willets Point. They ignored the plans of the city to build mostly market-rate housing in a borough where the median income is less than $50,000 a year.

They got something for their own members while they ignored other workers in need. With labor solidarity like that, it's no wonder unions are getting weaker.


Anonymous said...

Duh....uh...wadda ya expect man...
from Brian Mc Lauglin's former union knucklehead thugs at da Central Labor Council!

They put Johnny Friendly's" boys
("On The Waterfront" classic movie) to shame!

It was boasted that they could put a thousand men in the field to show up in support of a political candidate (or a crooked land grab) at the drop of a hat!

This kind of chicanery almost makes
me glad to see American jobs outsourced to foreign lands
in the cause of these mafia type unions getting busted !

Anonymous said...

The creation of future (temporary)
jobs.....the same old hand job being
offered to the ignorant "tweeded"
so that they'll support this illegal theft of private property by the
feudal lords of NYC's real estate realm!

Anonymous said...

What a sight! Union officials joining forces with Commissar Death and Taxes - who despises all working people - to betray working people who are union members.

"Hotel workers union leader Peter Ward said he expected any hotel on the site to allow an expedited "card check" method for unionization instead of the more drawn-out process of holding a union election."

What's 'expedited card check'? Just a way to intimidate those hotel workers (whose immigration status is: ______?) into joining the union by having union thugs witness his choice of whether or not to join the union. Sure beats the 'drawn-out process of holding a union election' with that idiotic "secret ballot" idea. And then counting those ballots? And then the Federal oversight? Who needs elections, anyway. All elections do is give people a free choice. Can't have free choice, now, can we, Commissar?

So the union officials, along with Commissar Death and Taxes, are happy to participate in the theft of private property and jobs. Naturally, the private property will be handed to very wealthy, slimy developers who will use illegal aliens in all construction jobs, and use that illegal labor to further destroy the unions themselves. And all the wealthy developers, along with Commissar Death and Taxes, will openly and brazenly turn right around and betray those union officials and whatever few members remain. And laugh at the utter stupid treachery of these union officials

In the meantime, Commissar Death and Taxes, along with the union officials and the wealthy developers will have destroyed hundreds of PRIVATE businesses, and beggared thousands of hard working employees, already members of some of the same unions.

How Soviet!

How Mugabe!

How Zimbabwean.

How savage.

Anonymous said...

It's The Parkside side show!

Anonymous said...

They're blowing smoke up your ass. A developer has yet to be chosen and union jobs are in the bag? I don't think so. It's just a gimmick to gain support for this un-American land grab.

georgetheatheist said...

Grandma Shulman is appropriately attired in her "spider" woman outfit. [Why doesn't she just go away?] Oh, look there's Toby Stavisky. How much in it for bubele Evan and Parkside?

Anonymous said...

Ahh Jezzz I cant believe this is happening and even legal
What a stinking bouquet of Commie bastards!

Need to hurl them all back to Russia and Israel where land grabs and evections at gunpoint are popular.

What pieces of shit Im not a racist but I am one now.
I talked with this old Rabbi who basicly said these savages have no morals, its all about "accomplishments" and getting there names on things. Moses own Rabbi called him a savage and disgrace to Jewish people.

They are like termites when they get into government and the courts it the DUTY of the "tribe" is only loyal to each other and destory everything that not in their interest.

Anonymous said...

Imagine Her Royal Fatness, Clare Schulman standing with the rabble union bosses? Those same union bosses that make THEIR living on the backs of their members.Oh well, I forgot, Thats how Clare made her $$$.. Now she wants her named carved on some stancheon at Willets Point, so when she moves into a old age home someone MIGHT recognize her.Do any of these people just ride out on their horse and enjoy life? Or are they so un-balanced as to pretend to be movers and shakers till the day someone says 'rest in peace'

Anonymous said...

In the old days any politition dare try a land grab like this a guy with a big neck and arms would pay them a visit.

I guess this is why why the city came down so hard on the MAFIA. they can steal land. being they used up all of Manhatten !

Anonymous said...

When will the Feds be brought in to investigate this matter? Are they also being bought and sold? Who is representing the interests of those living within a few miles of the proposed project? And finally...when do we start saying Sig Heil???

Anonymous said...

The workers at these chop shops are undocuments illegals. That's why the union are happy. we should all be happy.

Anonymous said...

The workers at these chop shops are undocuments illegals. That's why the union are happy. we should all be happy.

Huh? Chop shops make up only part of the mix of businesses at Willets Point. Your argument does not make sense. Go back to Parkside and let them tell you what you should say next oh brainless wonder!!!

Anonymous said...

You know, I don't get something.

I know the city neglected Willets Point and that's why much of it looks the way it does. So why didn't these business owners put their money together and clean it up themselves. I mean if i'm going to have a business and the city refuses to do it's part even though it's wrong, I would invest the money myself. I mean how could they work in that disgusting environment. I would've spent some serious money like some of the other businesses did.
The city was totally wrong in neglecting the area. But some of these businesses could've helped themselves a little bit. That way the city had no reason to call the area "blighted".
I've been a teacher for many years and spent THOUSANDS of dollars out-of-pocket. Was that right? NO. But I did it for the kids.
I also did it to make my job a little bit easier and more fun. I learned early on despite all the big speeches by any given chancellor(especially the current clown) the city DID NOT care about the kids.
Especially in the low-income neighborhoods.

Anonymous said...

people tried at willets point to help like the one company who swept the streets with his street sweeper only to have it confiscated by the city. or lets say the one guy who wanted to pave the streets but was told we'll take ypour trucks, get it in your heads this is a land grab and its getting scarier by the second. america is turning into zimbabwi and bloomy acts like mogombi fix the parkside machine now or one day they will destroy maybe you too

Anonymous said...

When I was in Europe, during the Reagan years, when every European found out I was from the USA said "We feel so sorry for you". When I asked why they replied "your country is going

Hard not to think they were right on.

Anonymous said...

Well sad to say its Monserrate whoses standing up for the businesses while Claire Heln Marshall and the rest of the city politicos get in and the Land Grab Fest!!!!
Hey Bd. & dont sell us out!!!

Anonymous said...

Board 7 and the City Council VOTE NO!!!!

Anonymous said...

A classic! The souless Building Trades don't care if thousands of workers lose their jobs, so long as they can get work for a year or three building whatever. Note that they assume all construction will be union... why? Because the fix is already in! Bottom feeder Peter Ward, thug that he is, has already claimed whatever hotels wil be built as union hotels. Do the future employees there have any say? Not if the union can help it. "Expedited card check" is a euphemism for "employees get no chance to vote."