Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Despite Barclays Center's sunny portrayal of job statistics, take-home pay unmentioned; Ratner called jobs "great way" to supplement income

It was a slide Barclays Center Community Affairs Manager Terence Kelly moved through quickly during his 5/20/15 presentation (slideshow here) to the Atlantic Yards Community Development Corporation (AY CDC).

The numbers look good: 2,100 Barclays Center employees, some 75% from Brooklyn, 30% from the four closest community districts, and 22% from public housing.

That means some 1900 part-time jobs, generally in facilities, food concessions, or housekeeping.

What went unmentioned--as in the past--was what they earn. Kelly, when queried in the past, has said the jobs pay above $10 an hour and thus qualify as "living wage."

But that concept is premised on a full-time work week. And officials have never provided the average work hours or take-home pay.

Kelly was also asked in the past if workers get health benefits, and his response was that they get union benefits. But the union offers health benefits only to full-time workers. At the AY CDC meeting, he rushed through a presentation at the end of a long meeting, and there were few questions.


How many hours?

In 2012, after company officials said the then-2000 jobs represented 1240 FTE (full-time equivalent), I did the math and calculated that worked out to 23.6 hours a week for the part-timers.

Even that seems like a lot, given the periodic use of the arena, and the fact that 800 workers is the maximum when there's a big event--which is rare.

Ratner's explanation

Speaking 9/23/13 to the Nassau Legislature about the Nassau Coliseum, according to the transcript, developer Bruce Ratner said:
There is 2,700 jobs for permanent operations. Most of those jobs are part time because obviously the issue is that you don't have shows 24-7. That's good and bad. What we found at Barclays is, in a lot of ways it's positive because first of all we pay a good wage. At Barclays [sic; he probably meant Nassau Coliseum] I believe we'll pay a good wage. I believe in that strange as that mean seem for a developer. But, importantly, it allows them to have a good paying part-time job and a good paying full-time job. Or two part time jobs. Plus they can pick their hours. They can be weekends, they can be evenings. So it's actually a great way to either supplement their income or in fact if someone only currently works a part time job, then they are going to be able to have another part time job. But that's the nature of this business.
(Emphases added)

It is, indeed, the nature of arena facilities to have part-time jobs.

But they shouldn't get away with promoting the jobs without clarifying what people earn. After all, the whole point of Atlantic Yards was to be transformative, especially launching Brooklyn residents into construction careers. That didn't quite work out.

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