Monday, May 05, 2008

BUILD and the unions bond, at least with t-shirts

The construction trade unions supporting Atlantic Yards tend to be, demographically speaking, white guys, often from the suburbs or well beyond Central Brooklyn. The signatories of the Atlantic Yards Community Benefits Agreement and their supporters are mostly black folk from Central Brooklyn.

During the counter-protest on Saturday, however, members of both groups were wearing new orange t-shirts, courtesy of (I'd guess) Forest City Ratner, that read, on the front, "Community and Unions Working Hand in Hand."

On the back it read "Build Safe Brooklyn," an allusion to the group Brooklyn United for Innovative Local Development (BUILD) and the role of construction unions in avoiding the shortcuts suffered at some nonunion workplaces.

(Note that the members of the Brooklyn Carpenters Union Local 926 below don't necessarily conform to the stereotype.)

(Photos by Adrian Kinloch)

Flier

A related flier distributed at the event, headlined "Build Safe Brooklyn," was subtitled "Communities & Unions Working Together."

Support the Atlantic Yards Project, it read. "Tell your local politicians NOT to use this Project as a tool for their ELECTION! This project is $ Real Money $ for a sagging economy."

"Jump start Brooklyn's Economy by supporting this JOBSITE. Call these politicians and tell them, 'Support US or we WON'T support you.'"

The three politicians targeted: City Council Members David Yassky (running for Comptroller), Bill de Blasio (running for Brooklyn Borough President), and Letitia James (up for reelection). James was referred to as "Tisha."

It's another sign that Atlantic Yards is perceived to be very much in play politically. If Borough President Marty Markowitz runs for mayor, what will he say about AY?

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