City offered union huge concession in Midtown rezoning talks

November 18, 2013 09:16AM

The Bloomberg administration offered the city’s powerful hotel workers’ union a major concession in the final days of the push to get the Midtown East rezoning approved, promising that any new hotel in the 73-block rezoning area would have to employ unionized workers.

The city, in its quest to win over the 32,000-strong Hotel Trades Council, made the concession despite hotel operators’ claims that a requirement to hire union workers would lead to a spike in costs of up to 30 percent. Mayor Michael Bloomberg ultimately withdrew his application for the rezoning last week, citing an absence of backing from legislators, as The Real Deal reported.  But the concession may set a precedent that could tip the scales in favor of labor in subsequent rezonings, Crain’s reported.

A spokesperson for the mayor’s office told Crain’s that was not the case.

The Real Estate Board of New York’s Steven Spinola, who had opposed the concession to hire union workers, told Crain’s that in future rezonings “we’ll have a different mayor, we’ll have a different council, and we’ll have a different council leadership, and labor will continue to do what it does and what it does effectively.” [Crain’s]  – Hiten Samtani