Not All Unions Cheery About Garment Center Rezoning

Earlier this week we wrote about a deal between a key group of unions, UNITE HERE, and the Bloomberg administration that would help clear the path for a major Garment Center rezoning, opening up millions of square feet for office space.

The city agreed to a unique provision that would likely promote unionized workforces in any new hotels, and the union would support the city’s plan for the preservation of 350,000 square feet of production space. Those negotiations were led by the UNITE HERE affiliates that represent hotel workers.

But one of the local affiliates of UNITE HERE that represents apparel industry workers, the New York Metropolitan Area Joint Board, sent over a statement delicately suggesting that perhaps the eventual rezoning could do more to accomodate the workers, such as more production space than was agreed to. [See the statement here.]

“We would like to see more—we don’t think that 350,000 is enough,” Edgar Romney, the Joint Board’s manager, told us last night.

Also, Mr. Romney called for the creation of a nonprofit to own and manage the production space, as opposed to a plan the city is leaning toward, for which a few landlords would control the bulk, or all, of the 350,000 square feet of production space in a consolidated location.

More details on that concept in a report by the New York Industrial Retention Network here [PDF]. Not All Unions Cheery About Garment Center Rezoning