Scoop: NYC Never Disclosed Union Deal That Helped Secure Rezonings

Developers are finding out too late that they're required to pay union members a prevailing wages on projects in rezoned parts of New York City.
February 8, 2019, 6am PST | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Joe Anuta reports a big scoop that changes the understanding about the deals made to move rezoning plans through

"In the spring of 2017, the de Blasio administration quietly struck a deal with a union that guarantees its members employment in affordable-housing projects totaling thousands of units across the five boroughs," report Joe Anuta.

The deal was never made public, but the deal was made for a very public reason: it applies to Mayor Bill de Blasio's rezoning of up to 15 neighborhoods to boost density across the city, according to Anuta. "Within each rezoned area, most developments topping 30 units that receive public subsidies must now pay building-service workers a prevailing wage, a deal that steers work to 32BJ [SEIU] members."

According to Anuta, "32BJ repeatedly testified in support of the rezonings without disclosing the pact's existence, and in some cases called for a wage requirement even though it had already secured one."

The problem with the secrecy of the deal: developers are buying sites without being aware of the wage agreement, adding unexpected expenses to proposed projects.

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Published on Monday, February 4, 2019 in Crain's New York Business
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