Report: 32BJ quietly secured rezoning wage deal with city in 2017

Pact with building-service union has applied to four rezonings so far

TRD New York /
Feb.February 04, 2019 04:30 PM

Alicia Glen and 32BJ’s Hector Figueroa with a view of Inwood (Credit: Getty Images, 32BJ, and Airbnb)

Because of a very quiet deal between the city and a large union, developers will have to pay higher wages to service workers at large affordable housing projects in newly-rezoned neighborhoods, according to a new report.

The 2017 deal struck between the de Blasio administration and 32BJ SEIU, the building-service workers union, was never publicly announced, according to Crain’s. After securing “prevailing wage” requirements for large state-subsidized projects in future rezoned neighborhoods, 32BJ voiced support for the city’s rezoning initiatives at several public hearings, all while neglecting to mention the existence of such a pact. The city rezoned Jerome Avenue, Far Rockaway, East Harlem and Inwood.

In some cases, 32BJ representatives called for a wage requirement, even though they had already secured one.

The lack of publicity for this arrangement even led some developers to purchase sites without knowing about the wage requirement, Crain’s reported. Prevailing wages (in essence, union pay) can be as much as 25 percent higher than nonunion wages, according to some developers. Some developers worry the subsidies wouldn’t cover the labor costs imposed by the deal.

The prevailing wage requirement, which applies to most projects with over 30 units that receive public subsidies in the newly-rezoned areas, could impact up to 11 more rezonings in the future, and was also applied retroactively to the East New York rezoning in Brooklyn.

Both the city and the union claim that the deal was never meant to be a secret, but did not provide specific examples of public discussion of the deal.

32BJ recently raised the average wage for its residential workers to $55,000, after threatening a citywide strike last spring which would have forced tenants to take out their own trash or volunteer as doormen.

Last month, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that he will push for an expansion of what projects are required to pay workers prevailing wages, which would benefit construction unions as well. The city has opposed extending these benefits to construction unions, arguing that the added cost would result in fewer units being built. [Crain’s] — Kevin Sun


Related Articles

arrow_forward_ios
A rendering of 165 Broome Street (Credit: Handel Architects)

Nonprofit plans affordable housing development near Essex Crossing

Nonprofit plans affordable housing development near Essex Crossing
All Falls Down: Kanye West’s “Star Wars”-themed affordable housing plan hits snag

All Falls Down: Kanye West’s “Star Wars”-themed affordable housing plan hits snag

All Falls Down: Kanye West’s “Star Wars”-themed affordable housing plan hits snag
Alicia Glen and Common CEO Brad Hargreaves (Glen via MSquared; Hargreaves via Common)

Common names Alicia Glen to board

Common names Alicia Glen to board
Arker Companies principal Alex Arker and 51-19 Beach Channel Drive in Edgemere (Arker Companies; Google Maps)

Arker Companies begins massive redevelopment of former Queens hospital

Arker Companies begins massive redevelopment of former Queens hospital
ButterflyMX CEO Cyrus Claffey (iStock; ButterflyMX)

ButterflyMX raises $35M to grow smart-intercom business

ButterflyMX raises $35M to grow smart-intercom business
76 Schermerhorn Street and 378 5th Street in Brooklyn (Photos via The Symon and StreetEasy)

It’s just one week, but Brooklyn luxury contract signings fell 50%

It’s just one week, but Brooklyn luxury contract signings fell 50%
565 Broome Street and 35 North Moore Street (Photos via 565BroomeSoHo and Google Maps)

Manhattan sees highest number of luxury contracts signed since early March

Manhattan sees highest number of luxury contracts signed since early March
(Photo courtesy of Winkworth)

London’s so-called skinniest home hits the market

London’s so-called skinniest home hits the market
arrow_forward_ios

The Deal's newsletters give you the latest scoops, fresh headlines, marketing data, and things to know within the industry.

Loading...