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June 15, 2011

Unions agree to wage cut on major project

Reduction of 20% pledged for construction of over 500 affordable-housing units at planned block-long project on Eleventh Avenue; similar deal eyed for Brooklyn's Atlantic Yards.

Crain's NY Business
by Theresa Agovino

New York construction unions have reached an agreement to cut the wages of members working on a massive residential project on the far West Side by 20%, sources said. The project, which will include more than 500 units of affordable housing, is being developed by the Gotham Organization Inc.

Meanwhile, Forest City Ratner Cos. has applied to the unions for similar wage cuts as it prepares to begin construction of its first residential tower at the long-planned Atlantic Yards project in Brooklyn. There, at least 50% of the approximately 400 residential units will be affordable.
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Spokesmen for the Building & Construction Trades Council of Greater New York, a union trade group, and Forest City declined to comment. Gotham President David Picket couldn't immediately be reached.

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NoLandGrab: Bruce forgot to mention when he promised "jobs" that they would be cut-rate.

Related coverage...

Atlantic Yards Report, Modular plan or pressure tactic? Forest City said to be asking for 20% wage cuts for first Atlantic Yards residential tower

This confirms that, as I've suggested, the announced modular construction option has been used as a negotiating tool.

The New York Times, Squeezing Costs, Builders Take New Look at Prefab

Now, with an emphasis on materials conservation and reuse, and developers looking to squeeze costs any way they can, modular construction is getting a closer look.

Often the word prefab conjures images of inexpensive and poorly built structures like trailer homes. But proponents of prefab, many of whom shudder at the moniker, say that modular design done well is anything but cheaply built. A modularly constructed building uses the same materials as a traditional one. But because it is made in a factory, workers are not battling the elements and can construct it more soundly and with less waste, proponents say.

And less wages, proponents don't say.

“Is the technology there to do it? Yes. Is the desire? Yes,” said Christopher Sharples, a principal at SHoP Architects, which is designing a possible 34-story prefab tower for the developer Forest City Ratner at Atlantic Yards in Brooklyn. “In the near future, I think people are going to become more educated about what the potential of this approach could be.”

Posted by eric at June 15, 2011 10:20 AM