Developers normally grit their teeth when they hear of a rival striking a “project labor agreement” with construction trade unions, because they typically include some sort of labor concessions. But when the unions make a deal with a developer known for hiring non-union workers, well, that makes erstwhile colleagues blurt out in public—which is what Related Companies CEO Steven Ross did at a Dec. 8 panel sponsored by the New York University Real Estate Institute. “Boymelgreen bought a building downtown and the unions made a deal with him to reduce a lot of their restrictions,” he said, referring to Shaya Boymelgreen’s project to convert the old Chase Manhattan offices at 20 Pine Street into 409 Giorgio Armani-designed condos. “What about all the developers who built with unions all along and here they are rewarding developers who use non-union labor.”
A Boymelgreen spokesman, Lloyd Kaplan, said that the developer sometimes uses union labor, depending on the project, but he could not elaborate on the Pine Street deal. Anthony Pugliese, an organizer for the New York District Council of Carpenters, said that the carpenters did not reduce their wages nor make other concessions, but that the other trades may have agreed to productivity measures, such as cutting the minimum number of workers needed on the job. In return for the developer promising to hire union on the upcoming Pine Street rehab, Pugliese said locals agreed to stop putting The Rat outside a nearby Boymelgreen project at 15 Broad Street. We waited to post this item until we got more details from participants, but unfortunately we still have not heard back from Ed Malloy, president of the Building and Construction Trades Council, who coordinates the unions that would have taken part in the pact.