Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Forest City: "much reduced workforce" at modular factory, as B2 fabrication work winds down

I'll have multiple articles covering issues raised at the March 15 Atlantic Yards Community Development Corporation meeting.

As reported 12/1/15, Forest City Ratner gave 220 workers at the company's modular factory the required 90-day notice that the Brooklyn Navy Yard facility might close after they finished the modules needed for the completion of the Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park B2 tower, aka 461 Dean Street.

In response to a question from AY CDC board member Barika Williams, Forest City Ratner Chief of Staff Ashley Cotton said the deadline had passed and "today there is a much reduced workforce in the factory, finishing 461 Dean Street."

"And we have worked closely with our partners in the building trades to place the workers who are no longer in the factory temporarily on other union jobs," Cotton said, "and basically put them in a holding pattern until the next contract is secured for the modular factory, at which time we'll bring them all back to work."

Well, maybe, maybe not.

First, they've surely been trying hard to get a new contract for FC Modular, even as an assembly plant for building components, and that hasn't been announced. And the last time there were layoffs--after former joint venture partner Skanska closed the plant--it wasn't that simple to staff back up.

"We also experienced greater delay than anticipated and costs related to rehiring, or replacing talent that was let go when our former partner separated from the project," said Bob O'Brien, CFO of parent Forest City Realty Trust, last November, explaining why the cost of the building had risen.

So it's by no means assured that the workers would go back.

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