Thursday, February 21, 2013

New luxury hotel and condo at the gleaming Brooklyn Bridge Park on path to be built by non-union labor

Hotel and Motel Trade Council members protest

By Reuven Blau / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

A new luxury hotel and condo tower at the gleaming Brooklyn Bridge Park will likely not be built or run by union workers.

The labor organizations representing hotel staffers and construction workers say they have been stonewalled by the developers selected for the controversial Pier 1 complex--Toll Brothers City Living and Starwood Capital Group.

At stake are an estimated 210 permanent jobs and 300 construction jobs at the waterfront park.

“This is a luxury hotel on prime public land,” said Josh Gold, political director for the hotel trades council. "We want to make sure that the jobs that are created are good jobs with real benefits that keep New Yorkers in the middle class.”

Last year, there were seven bids for the project from different developers, according to records. Five of those proposals would likely have included using union workers, union officials said.

Park officials promised to give preference to developers with a good labor history.

“I think we would be setting a terrible precedent to allow a project like this, which is on public land, to not include really basic job protections for employees who work there on the site,” said City Councilman Steve Levin (D-Greenpoint).

Brooklyn Bridge Park President Regina Myer said talks with the developer are ongoing.

A rendering of the Toll Brothers|Starwood hotel and condo building in Brooklyn Bridge Park.

A rendering of the Toll Brothers|Starwood hotel and condo building in Brooklyn Bridge Park.

“We've been working with Starwood on this item,” she told the park's board at a Wednesday meeting near Pier 1.

“Starwood is willing to enter negotiations. The issue is timing,” she said, noting the building design has not been finalized.

Union officials scoffed at that excuse, pointing out that they already have initial labor agreements with the developer at Willets Point and for a potential new soccer stadium in Queens.

The hotel and condo development are set to open in fall 2015. Both developers declined to comment.

At issue is a state law passed in 2009.

The Public Authority Reform Act requires developers on public land sign a "labor peace" agreement, which typically leads to union workers being hired.

Union officials and pols say that law applies to the parks project too.

Brooklyn Bridge officials insist the law doesn’t apply to the park becauseof its unique financing situation. .

The hotel and condo were added to the glitzy new waterfront park with killer views of Manhattan as part of a 2002 agreement with city and state pols as a way to generate cash. Maintaining the 85-acre park and restoring its five old piers is expected to cost $16 million annually, with the development projected to provide $3.3 million annually.

rblau@nydailynews.com

Posted from iPhone

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