By Andrew Pavia
February 6, 2013
Over 300 local union workers rolled out the red carpet in a “Hall of Shame” induction ceremony for Acadia Realty at City Hall last week.
The unions criticized the company for receiving millions of dollars in subsides, but not hiring union workers for the City Point development project in Downtown Brooklyn.
They also claim that Acadia pays their laborers “poverty wages.”
“Acadia is one of the most irresponsible developers in the City of New York,” said Gary LaBarbera, president of the Building and Construction Trades Council.
Acadia did reach out to a couple of unions to work on the project, but the unions refused the offer unless there was a deal in place to hire all union labor at the site.
“Several months ago, they reached out to a few of the trades to start erecting steel,” said LaBarbera. “To their credit, Local 580 and Local 361 of the Ironworkers said no.”
LaBarbera said he has scheduled a meeting on February 11 with the CEO of Acadia to discuss the issue.
The City Point project is a mixed-use development that will include housing and retail. Phase 1 was financed with $20 million in Recovery Zone Facility Bonds with an interest rate of 7 percent.
Tom Montvel-Cohen, a spokesperson for Acadia, disputed the accusation that money was blindly given to the project.
“The $20 million used to build Phase 1 is a loan carrying a market rate of interest, over 7 percent, not subsidized by government,” he said.
Phase 2, however, is receiving some subsidies from Housing and Preservation Development and other government sources.
Montvel-Cohen said that construction is being done with the workers needs in mind.
“We are committed to maximizing local and minority contracting and employment,” he said, citing that 80 percent of the workers on the project are minorities, with 40 percent living in Brooklyn.
John Skinner, of Ironworkers Local 46, disputed that claim.
“What a lot of these companies do is they promise to hire local people and give them good jobs and good wages,” he said. “They don’t really hire local workers because they don’t show any responsible records of doing that.”