Prominent labor organizer Ray Rogers says the Real Estate Board of New York is responsible for some of New York City’s biggest problems, and he’s releasing a short animated film that takes aim at the lobbying group.
The 73-year-old Rogers will debut the anti-REBNY film “Bullies” on Tuesday evening at Cinema Village Movie Theater during the pro-union Workers Unite Film Festival, according to Crain’s.
REBNY — which represents landlords, developers and real estate brokers — has contributed to a host of crises in New York, including a shortage of affordable housing, small businesses shutting down or getting displaced, increasing injuries to construction workers, and corruption in politics, Rogers claims.
He said he was motivated to make the film, which runs five minutes, after witnessing what he described as unsafe construction practices by nonunion labor at a site in Dumbo.
A REBNY spokesperson defended the lobbying group against Rogers’ film, saying the industry employs more than 600,000 workers who make an average of $75,700 per year.
“We hope the film includes the fact that the real estate industry generates $20.4 billion dollars in annual tax revenue that funds the salaries of every single New York City police officer, firefighter and teacher as well as parks, libraries and other vital city services that every New Yorker expects and deserves,” the spokesperson told Crain’s.
Rogers previously worked with the New York City District Council of Carpenters, a group that has sparred with REBNY before, and he has also spearheaded campaigns against large companies such as Coca-Cola. [Crain’s] — Eddie Small