Build Up NYC to Hudson Companies: Good Jobs and Affordable Housing Are Needed at Brooklyn Heights Library Redevelopment

BUNYC calls on developer at Borough Hall Public Hearing to give back good jobs & affordable housing to the community

BROOKLYN, N.Y. (August 18, 2015) — As Borough President Eric Adams listened to testimony on the proposed $52 million sale of a Brooklyn Heights library to a developer, Hudson Companies, he was met by dozens of Brooklyn workers rallying for responsible development and good jobs that will help local families who depend on steady pay-checks.

Responsible development and good jobs go hand in hand. 75% of construction fatalities in NYC in 2014 occurred on job sites where employers did not participate in state approved training and apprentice programs. Being able to work safely and point out dangers to your boss without fearing for your job protects workers, and the public.

“There are far too many construction accidents and fatalities in NYC. Last year 48% of all workplace fatalities were construction-related, according to OSHA,” said Build Up NYC President Gary LaBarbera. “We as a community, owe it to the workers who work at heights on construction sites and to their families to make sure that every worker has the benefit of state of the art training and apprenticeship programs and can work for an responsible employer. The Hudson Companies should commit to use contractors and subcontractors who participate in state approved training and apprenticeship programs on the Library project. The lives of working families matter.”.

Hudson Companies, the developer looking to construct a thirty-six story residential building with a new library and 114 affordable-housing units in Clinton Hill, has not provided any assurances that they will build and operate with responsible employers.

BUNYC members handed out information about their concerns, held signs, testified before the Borough President, and rallied outside the courtroom.

Carole Raftrey, an ironworker who lives in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn: “Our members living in the area have spoken of over-crowded schools. Any new development should provide the necessary improvements and infrastructure to sustain the community.”

Adrian Vitalis, a carpenter from Brooklyn: “My wife and I have hopes… that include raising a family and buying a home. Our goals have been out of reach because housing is so expensive and I have worked mostly for contractors who have not paid good wages nor provided benefits. Seven months ago I started to work for a responsible contractor. I began making good wages… My wife and I recently began implementing a five year plan that will have us buying a home and starting our family… Working families like mine need good jobs and affordable housing.”

Tiffany Faulk, an insulator from East New York, Brooklyn: “When we sell off our public assets for private developments, the resulting projects must create real, long-term value for both developers and communities.”

Rama Campbell, a painter by trade who resides in Brooklyn: “My family came to this country from Jamaica in search of a better life. I have a good job. The Hudson Companies can make a difference for other families so they can provide a decent future for their children in Brooklyn.”

Orlando Castillo, an elevator constructor from Brooklyn: “I live in Vinegar Hill and I am able to stay here because I have a good job. My brother and sister were not so fortunate. They could not find good jobs so they left the state… I’m afraid that without developers like the Hudson Companies making a commitment to good jobs on their projects, the days are numbered for those like me trying to stay where I was born and raised.”

Build Up NYC is an alliance of working men and women committed to good jobs that sustain the middle class and to a level playing field for responsible employers.