NYC building trades target big money lenders in fight against non-union construction on ‘Billionaires’ Row’

Posted by on Tue, Mar 31, 2015 @ 13:03 PM

 

             
The tower, at 111 W. 57th St., would be one of the tallest buildings ever constructed with non-union labor 

The tower, at 111 W. 57th St., would be one of the tallest buildings ever constructed with non-union labor

It's always smart to follow the money.

That's why New York City’s labor unions, long opposed to to a plan to use non-union labor to build one of the city’s tallest towers on W. 57th St., are trying a new tack to dissuade developers from going the non-union route — going straight to the source of their capital.

The Laborer’s International Union and the Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York are planning an organized discussion on “responsible” real estate investing Tuesday at a conference hosted by the Council of Institutional Investors in Washington D.C. Representatives from institutional lending giants such as CalPERS, Prudential Financial and Ernst & Young are slated to be in attendance.

The case study? The so-called “irresponsible” practices of JDS Development, the builder behind the 57th St. tower.

"The goal of this session is to reach as many investors as possible to make them think twice about what types of companies and projects they invest in,"  with JDS serving as the poster child, said a spokesperson for the building trades.

“We’re really zoning in on where the money is coming from,” Gary LaBarbera, president of the trades council, told the Daily News. “We need to educate lenders about the realities of this. The fact is they’re subsidizing exploitation of workers and unsafe work conditions.”

A spokesperson for JDS was not immediately available for comment.

It’s just the latest in a string of clashes between the unions and JDS CEO Michael Stern, who is using non-union labor at 111 W. 57th St. and another of his projects at at 626 First Ave.

If the 57th St. project goes ahead as anticipated, the pencil-thin 80-story building, at 111 W. 57th St., which is slated to rise to 1,421 feet and be one of the priciest condos on "Billionaires' Row," would be one of the largest non-union construction projects to be completed in the history of the city.

The project is financed to the tune of $390 million by Cornerstone Real Advisors, a division of Massachusetts Mutual Life insurance. Representatives for Cornerstone may also be in attendance at the conference.

Topics: Labor Unions, Construction Jobs, Union Advantage, Construction

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