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Building Trades

LIUNA Local 79 Marches - Union Shows Strength in African American Day Parade

By Bendix Anderson
September 30, 2010

HARLEM, N.Y. -- Music poured out of Local 79's float as union members joined hundreds of other unions and community groups to march in the African American Day Parade September 19th.

Local 79's float had its own DJ mixing tracks and some of the loudest speakers on Adam Clayton Powell Blvd. "Can I hear you, Local 79?" called out lead organizer and community activist Anthony Reed over the float's microphone.

Over the last three years, Local 79 has been a regular part of the annual celebration. The union sponsors a float in the parade to show its respect to Harlem and the African-American community, and also to show that Local 79 includes many African-American faces. More than 70 percent of Local 79's members are minorities, and 30 percent of the members are African-American.

Comptroller Liu Speaks to LIUNA Local 79

By Liam Cusack
September 23, 2010
 
John Liu, Comptroller for the City of New York received a standing ovation when he spoke to the general membership meeting of Local 79 on Wednesday evening September 15, 2010. Telling members of the LIUNA Local 79 that his most important job as Comptroller is to ensure that workers are treated and paid fairly. Liu pointed out that in the past year the Comptroller’s office has barred four companies from doing business in New York City for cheating workers out of salaries.
 
“We need to send a strong signal that if you’re going to cheat workers you are going to get caught and you’re going to be punished,” said Comptroller Liu.

World Trade Center Rebuilding Back on Track

By Bendix Anderson
September 15, 2010

After years of struggle and delay, the reconstruction of the World Trade Center in Lower Manhattan is back on track.

“For the first time since 9/11, we have certainty about what is being built, how much it will cost, when it will be completed, and a concrete plan to get us there. And we are seeing real, tangible progress,” said Chris Ward, executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, speaking at a Wednesday morning address to the Association for a Better New York,

More than 2,000 workers now swarm over the World Trade Center site. One World Trade Center has risen 36 stories high with a second tower, 4 World Trade Center, following close behind.

Jobs in Jeopardy as Port Authority Faces Budget Shortfall

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey now employs thousands of construction workers through its capital plan – providing much needed employment in tough economic times. But the jobs might not last. The Authority confronts a shrinking budget as it struggles to meet the growing transportation needs of the region and rebuild its aging infrastructure. Union activists call for new investments in the region’s infrastructure that can keep the Port Authority’s capital plan on track and keep union workers on the job.

“We have a national and regional crisis with our infrastructure. We are looking more and more like a Third World nation,” said Robert Ledwith, business manager for Local 46 of the Metallic Lathers and Reinforcing Ironworkers speaking at a June 25th meeting of the Business and Labor Coalition of New York. Hundreds of his members are now working on Port Authority projects.

It’s been a pretty good year for the Port Authority so far. The Authority’s capital plan has created 58,000 jobs in 2010 alone, with $3.1 billion in new investment. Almost half of that work – 46 percent – is in lower Manhattan at the site of the World Trade Center. Tower One, formerly called the Freedom Tower, continues to rise and the World Trade Center Memorial is now scheduled to be completed in time for the 10-year anniversary of September 11th next year, according to Chris Ward, Executive Director of the Port Authority.

Governor Poised to Sign Bill Helping Third Water Tunnel Construction

Third Water Tunnel Valve Chamber

By Maggie Astor  

The State Assembly voted Wednesday in favor of new bidding rules that will hasten the construction of a third water tunnel in Manhattan; the State Senate voted similarly last month.

The bill, officially called S8361, authorizes the city to sell property without the usual competitive bidding process if the property cannot be individually developed due to zoning rules. According to State Senate materials, this would only be allowed “in the limited circumstances where the property cannot be independently developed due to its size, shape, configuration, topography or applicable zoning or a combination of such factors.” The rationale is that since these properties “are not appropriate for sale through the public auction or competitive bidding processes that would be required under existing law,” it would be a waste of time and resources for the city to hold a public auction before selling directly.

Building Trades Employer's Association Leadership Reception

At the Alfred G. Gerosa Leadership Dinner held on May 18th, the Building Trades Employer's Association (BTEA) honored four shining stars in New York City's building industry. The event, held at Cipriani 42nd Street, had over 500 attendees.

BTEA President & CEO Louis Coletti said that the impressive turnout "shows the support given to the organization, and means that we are hitting all of the key elements."

"The work of these four honorees is essential in sustaining this industry during rough economic times," Mr. Coletti said.

Bruce Ratner, Chairman and CEO of Forest City Ratner Companies (FCRC), received the Charles Eidlitz Leadership award. Mr. Ratner has led FCRC to prominence as one of the foremost urban real estate developers in the U.S.

The Charles Eidlitz Leadership Award was also presented to New York City Councilman, Honorable Erik Martin Dilan. Councilman Dilan, who represents the 37th District serving the communities of Bushwick, Cypress Hills, East New York, Ocean-Hill Brownsville and Wycoff Heights is chair of the Housing and Buildings Committee.

CITY-OWNED BUILDINGS NOW BENCHMARKED FOR ENERGY USE

By Neal Tepel
Benchmark Will Provide Baseline for Achieving Energy Reduction

New York City has completed the energy benchmarking of 2,790 City buildings. Every City-owned building over 10,000 square feet has been included in this initiative. Benchmarking is a requirement of the landmark Greener Greater Buildings Plan, passed by the City Council last year. Under the Greener, Greater Buildings Plan laws, privately-owned buildings over 50,000 square feet are also required to be benchmarked by May 1, 2011.  The benchmarking will help achieve the city goal of reducing carbon emissions from City government operations by 30 percent by 2017.

Albany Must Act to Create Trade and Construction Jobs

By Vince Tabone, President- Northeast Queens Community Action Center, Inc. (www.neqcan.org)
 
Recently, I stood with members of the construction and trade unions in the shadow of Ground Zero and called upon the Port Authority, State, City and Larry Silverstein to stop stalling and start building.  We sorely need the construction jobs and the permanent jobs that will follow.
 
To many in the trade and construction unions, the stagnation in construction has created a real hardship. With a jobless economic recovery, what can we do on a state and local level to get the shovels and backhoes moving again, the steel, brick and mortar laid?
 
One thing the State legislature can do is reinstate 421-a negotiable certificates that give 10-year tax abatements to owners and developers of residential apartments, basing the tax deduction on the full assessed value of the property -- as the state law was originally written, as opposed to the narrower limit that was imposed three years ago.
 
The 2007 state law capping the amount that could be deducted at an assessed valuation of $65,000 could not have come at a worse time.  Certificates thereafter sold for prices about half of the certificates that were not capped.

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