A controversial development project in downtown Brooklyn is facing opposition from labor unions, community advocates and elected officials who charge that the developers are hiring non-union contractors that pay their workers unfair wages and benefits.
A portion of the City Point project, a large-scale retail, office, and residential complex on Flatbush Avenue Extension, is being financed with public money, including $20 million in Recovery Zone Facility Bonds from the 2009 stimulus package. As a result,union organizers say that the realtor, Acadia Realty Trust, should be held accountable for paying their workers a fair salary.
“It was assumed all along that a project that size would be good for the community and good for the city because [Acadia] would be paying fair wages and it would bring the economy up,” said James Mahoney, the business manager of the Ironworkers Local 580. “They’re trying to get contractors to undercut their workers’ wages and it’s just not fair.”
Details of what the campaign against Acadia will entail are unclear, but Rep.-elect Hakeem Jeffries, Councilman Stephen Levin and Assemblyman-elect Walter Mosley are lending their assistance to the coalition to fight for the low-wage workers and to make sure that the public-private partnership behind the City Point project will benefit the community.
“With respect to the City Point project, there is tremendous opportunity to ensure that working families and middle-class workers can benefit from an initiative that would not have been made possible without generous city subsidies,” Jeffries said. “Public-private partnerships like City Point must deliver a clear benefit to the public if they’re going to make sense, that’s why this is an important campaign and I’m hopeful that Acadia will conclude that the right thing to do is to ensure that everyone benefits from this project.”
Calls placed to Acadia for comment went unreturned.