Sunday, November 27, 2011

Living Wage: What Unions & the City Council said in 2008

The New York City Economic Development Corporation has solicited developer firms to implement the Willets Point development, on the basis of a Request for Proposals ("RFP") that contains NO living wage provision. However, that plainly contradicts the announcements and testimony of union officials during 2008.

This 4-minute video compilation shows union officials during 2008 announcing, and testifying to the New York City Council on the record regarding, an agreement that requires a living wage provision to be included in the Request for Proposals seeking developer firms to implement the Willets Point development.

No matter what the unions may now have us believe, it is quite clear from this video that:

(1.) The unions unequivocally state that a living wage provision is "guaranteed" and "required" to be included in the Willets Point RFP, and that this has been memorialized in a written and signed agreement (i.e., there is no wiggle room);

(2.) The agreement to include a living wage provision in the Willets Point RFP was "critical to labor's support on this [Willets Point] project";

(3.) The agreement was consistent with the ideology of the local City Council member (Hiram Monserrate), without whose consent approval of the proposed Willets Point development would have been unlikely;

(4.) The local City Council member forewarned that in the future, the City of New York might attempt to avoid implementing agreed labor provisions, but that the City must honor its commitments to labor and to the City Council;

(5.) The City Council requested, and union officials agreed to provide to the City Council, a copy of the written agreement pertaining to the the inclusion of a living wage provision within the Willets Point RFP. Therefore, that agreement is part of the record on which the City Council based its decision to approve the proposed Willets Point development.

Now that the City has reneged on its commitment to include a living wage provision within the Willets Point RFP, who will challenge this? Will the unions -- whose agreement apparently has been violated by the City -- bring a lawsuit to require a new RFP that includes a living wage provision? Will the City Council act? Will law enforcement?

Or, were union officials exaggerating, or perhaps deceiving themselves, during 2008?