The Real Deal New York

Domino Sugar Factory site faces heat from union over asbestos removal

April 05, 2013 09:00AM

Union workers are accusing Two Trees Management of hiring a contractor with a suspect past and a history of lawsuits to handle asbestos removal at its massive Domino Sugar Factory redevelopment site in Williamsburg, Gothamist reported.

Local 78, which represents asbestos, lead and hazardous waste laborers, were quite vocal at Wednesday’s Community Board 1 Land Use meeting, according to Gothamist, and said that Two Trees had hired New York Insulation to remove asbestos at the site purely to save money. 

“You want to be a good neighbor? Why don’t you start by building the buildings right?” Local 78’s Edison Severino asked last night.

Indeed, New York Insulation has a poor track record when it comes to paying its employees, according to Gothamist. But Two Trees principal Jed Walentas defended the decision to hire the contractor, and said he has “total confidence” in the company, and that it was “better than any other bidder, union or non-union.” A spokesman for Two Trees added that the developer had “excellent experience working with New York Insulation in the past.”

Local 78 has been taking Two Trees to task for years, and in 2005 berated the developer for its allegedly casual attitude toward asbestos removal at the former Department of Education building in downtown Brooklyn — since turned into luxury condos — with reports of asbestos literally “flying out the windows.” [Gothamist] —Hiten Samtani