July 5, 2016
By WNYLaborToday.com Editor-Publisher Tom Campbell
Buffalo, NY – The Member Unions of the Buffalo Building & Construction Trades Council have started picketing the Canterbury Woods Construction Project in Buffalo, telling WNYLaborToday.com that an out-of-town contractor – identified as LECESSEE Construction of Rochester, is failing to hire any minorities, women and apprentices on the project.
The $150 million Canterbury Woods Project is being built on the site of what was the former Millard Fillmore Gates Hospital, land that is being redeveloped into what is being described as a “mixed-use urban district” with more than 500 residential apartments, condominiums, townhouses, a grocery store, a fitness center, office space and ground-floor retail shops. In addition, a separate 53-unit independent-living facility will anchor the overall project.
Buffalo Building Trades President Paul Brown told Your On-Line Labor Newspaper late last week after the Trades kicked off what he termed as a “picket line that will be up for as long as it takes” – that LECESSEE has hired “no’ minorities, women or apprentices on the project.
While roughly a third of the Construction Workers employed on the project are Union, including the project’s “lone” minority Worker, Brown underscored the fact that the project is receiving financial assistance from both the City of Buffalo and Erie County, which both push to maintain local hiring and minority hiring levels.
“(The Building Trades Unions) get ‘criticized’ (by the African-American Community on construction projects they feel do not have or do not have enough Minority Workers employed) and here we have a project (in the African-American Community) that has ‘no’ Minority Worker employed there other than our Union-represented Member,” he said.
Late last week the picket line increased to more than 50 as the Coalition for Economic Justice (CEJ) and Buffalo AFL-CIO Central Labor Council President John Mudie joined Building Trades representatives out in front of the project (see photo below/Courtesy of the CEJ).
However, it does appear the public action is bringing about some reaction from those running the Canterbury Woods project. Brown told WNYLaborToday.com the Trades “were starting to see some movement” in regards to scheduling a meeting on the issue. He added a meeting could come as early as this week, after the July 4th holiday, which may work to resolve the issue. To read more click on the following link