Thursday, June 26, 2014

Forest City executive on CBA signatory BUILD: "THEY WORK FOR US" (plus, criticism of state's owner's representative)

One issue in the pending lawsuit filed by trainees in the coveted pre-apprentice training program led by Atlantic Yards Community Benefits Agreement (CBA) signatory Brooklyn United for Innovative Local Development (BUILD), is how much the organization was controlled by and linked to its funder, Forest City Ratner.

Participants claim they were promised jobs and union cards by not only by BUILD but also by representatives of Forest City Ratner.

Forest City blames BUILD for making overbroad promises to the trainees and says it was not--a crucial issue under labor laws--a joint employer and thus not liable for any of those promises. Nor, says Forest City, did the developer devise and run the training program.

Those issues--with evidence that each side can claim in its favor--are teased out in legal papers, which I will analyze further before the July 11 hearing in federal court in Brooklyn.

However, one email, from Forest City Ratner construction chief Bob Sanna, lays out the colloquial and commonly perceived relationship between the developer and BUILD, which presented itself as a grassroots supporter of the project.

"THEY WORK FOR US," Sanna said, in a 9/16/10 email to colleagues complaining about requests by BUILD, especially Chief Operating Officer Marie Louis, for more information.


By the way, "yet another c ludlow" refers, I'm fairly, to Charles Ludlow of STV, which was hired Empire State Development to be its owner's representative to monitor construction and assess progress. (That's not the same as the job of environmental monitor for the state, which is done by HDR.)

So it doesn't look like Forest City was eager to be reporting to the state. As I've suggested, Atlantic Yards may be more a private-public partnership than a public-private one.

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