Thinking Collectively To Gain Affordable Housing

<p>In Boston, labor unions and community groups are joining forces to win victories for affordable housing.</p>
November 2, 2006, 8am PST | Nate Berg
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"Recently labor and housing groups have come up with some innovative strategies to strengthen the links between them. Community Labor United (CLU), formed in 2005, is one exciting new development. The concept originated with the national AFL-CIO Field Mobilization Department and the Greater Boston Labor Council. Modeled after successful efforts in California and Denver, CLU intends to give labor and community organizations the capacity to do joint campaigns that benefit shared constituencies. CLU reflects renewed efforts among community-based groups and unions in Boston and other cities to work together."

"Historically, affordable housing has been an issue with seemingly inherent fault lines when it comes to the interests of low-income residents and union workers. "There has been a longstanding clash between the building trades and other unions that depend on development for their livelihood, and the affordable housing movement," says Dick Monks, an organizer for Boston's Area Trades Council and a community activist. "Also, the real estate industry has been very effective at framing all housing issues in terms of ‘rent control,' which still has a very negative connotation to a lot of the rank and file." Some unions include small property owners and landlords among their members, who generally oppose any attempts to regulate rents."

Thanks to David Holtzman

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Published on Wednesday, November 1, 2006 in Shelterforce Magazine
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