Sunday, November 20, 2011

In Our Time Press, questionable coverage of the latest lawsuit

The notorious Stephen Witt, now writing for Bed-Stuy-based Our Time Press, has produced his coverage of the lawsuit filed earlier this week: Another Atlantic Yards lawsuit: Allegations that training program does not bring union jobs as promised.

There's no mention of the issue of unpaid wages, but a "he said, she said" focus on whether jobs and union cards were promised to 36 trainees in a highly selective program. Witt writes:
But both FCR and BUILD officials said union cards were never promised, and charged James, state Sen. Velmanette Montgomery and longtime foes of Atlantic Yards are behind the lawsuit. They also said their opposition is a major contributing force behind the lack of jobs as promised by the CBA.

...[BUILD's James] Caldwell said his organization has placed close to 400 people from the community with jobs, many on other FCR developments, and that the downturn in the economy has caused the build-out of the Atlantic Yards project to be much slower.

...[Forest City spokesman Joe] DePlasco said there are about 800 people currently working on the Atlantic Yards project...

Of these workers, 410 are city residents including 174 from Brooklyn, of which 67 are from Central Brooklyn...

DePlasco said of the 36 people that went through the BUILD pre-apprenticeship training program, 19 were working in property management, retail or construction-related positions as of September this year.
All that is irrelevant to the question of whether the 36 people, who began the program in August 2010, were promised jobs and union cards. After all, some of those 19 people have jobs at McDonald's.

A "thought" or a promise?

Witt ends the article thusly:
But plaintiff Maurice Griffin, 23, said he took the training because he thought it meant he would get a construction union card. He finally got one on his own with the carpenters union.
I posted a comment (not yet live):
Here’s more coverage, with video, that provides some facts and context left out above:

For example, the article above states “plaintiff Maurice Griffin, 23, said he took the training because he thought it meant he would get a construction union card.”

He said explicitly that it wasn’t merely his “thought.” He said, “They guaranteed me a union card, They said it’s not a question of whether we have it, but whether you complete the program. And I completed it. I came every time, early. I did my work. I’m here to let everybody know I’m not going to stand for this.”

2 comments:

  1. Here's a link to the PDF of Our Time Press, which includes my column on Atlantic Yards, and which mentions you in regards to your ongoing coverage.


    http://www.ourtimepress.com/upload/November172011sm

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  2. Stephen Witt writes that that "For doing this"-consistently seeking out the views of project supporters--" opponents of the project and their media mouthpieces, including Atlantic Yards Report blogger Norman Oder, continually blasted me."

    Um, I'm a journalist, and that means that, when Stephen Witt writes nonsense
    http://atlanticyardsreport.blogspot.com/2008/05/are-ay-foes-real-land-grabbers-courier.html
    he deserves to get called on it.

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