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Workers at the AY site: 666 people, but perhaps 500 full-time jobs; record of 41% minority hiring exceeds CBA goal of 35% (but women lag)

How many workers are at the Atlantic Yards site? Last week emerged two reports, with slightly different numbers, based on slightly different reporting times.

At the Atlantic Yards District Service Cabinet meeting January 26, Forest City Ratner officials said there were 666 workers at the site, including the arena, transit connection, and railyard. (This number tends to exceed slightly the number reported by Merritt & Harris, the real estate consultant to the arena PILOT Bond Trustee, because the latter does not examine railyard work.)

That total, I later confirmed, represents the total number of individuals employed at the site, not the average number of workers based on a five-day week, since some individuals do not work each day.

Thus the total number of full-time "jobs"--construction jobs are calculated in job-years--is probably some 25% lower, or closer to 500. (As noted below, Empire State Development, the state agency overseeing the project, calculate the average number of workers as about 75% of the total of individuals working.)

This confirms that the numbers Forest City has been reporting at the cabinet meetings represent the number of individuals employed, not full-time jobs. Had Forest City Ratner hired the Independent Compliance Monitor as required by the Community Benefits Agreement (CBA), we might have had clarification earlier.

CBA goals met? Partly

Forest City does have some good news to report regarding CBA compliance; cumulative employment of minorities is 41%, while employment for women is 3%.

The CBA requires the developers to "use good faith efforts" to employ not less than 35% minority and 10% women construction workers, "of which 35% of each category shall have the status of journey level worker."

So they're well ahead of the goal for minorities, while behind for women. That likely has something to do with the difficulty in signing on with unions, but, again, the compliance monitor might help explain this.

Ditto for the question of whether "35% of each category shall have the status of journey level worker;" I didn't get an answer. But the Atlantic Yards web site reports all these goals as certainties, as noted in the screenshot at right.

Hiring from NYC/Brooklyn

The total of 666 included 355 workers from New York City and 151 from Brooklyn. Within those latter numbers were 101 people hired via a Community Labor Exchange (CLE) required by the Atlantic Yards Community Benefits Agreement (CBA). In total, 150 have been hired via the CLE.)

Also, 72 are from four local community districts. Forest City Ratner spokesman Joe DePlasco provided the breakdown:
  • CB 2: 5
  • CB 3: 10
  • CB 6: 5
  • CB 8: 52
More workers coming?

At the January 26 cabinet meeting, Carlo Scissura, special advisor to Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, asked if the number of workers would increase as the opening date of the arena approaches in September.

"We may see a slight uptick," responded Forest City construction executive Bob Sanna. "I think we are approaching the peak, between all three parts of the project." At best 20 to 25 more workers would be added.

Overall, of course, the number of workers is well behind the total projected in the Technical Memorandum issued in June 2009 by ESD, since only the arena (and infrastructure), and not any of the adjacent towers, is under construction right now. By now, the peak was to have exceeded 1700 workers.
(Click on graphic to enlarge for clarity, and focus on Cur., for Current, as opposed to FEIS, which represents the numbers in the Final Environmental Impact Statement.)

ESD report

A report (below) circulated by Empire State Development after the meeting provided slightly different statistics, based on an earlier date, the week ending 12/25/11.

There were 705 individual workers on site, but not all were full-time. The average number of workers, based on daily workers divided by five days, was 529.

Of the workers, 390 were city residents and 167 were Brooklyn residents.

MWBE Contract Awards as of December 2011


Atlantic Yards Community Benefits Agreement (CBA)

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