New York, NY – This week, union construction workers fighting to preserve good middle class jobs in the face of increasing greed and exploitation in the development community, took their battle to the Madison Avenue offices of the CIM Group — a $29 billion private equity real estate fund manager known for hiring contractors with a knack for outrageous safety, payroll, wage and health violations.
“We’re looking for them to take some of the money they’re taking from some of the union pension plans throughout the country and Canada, and try to get them to build the way they say they’re going to build when they go and get that money,” Metallic Lathers and Reinforcing Ironworkers Business Manager Terry Moore told LaborPress.
Last month, Local 46 backed residents of the Lower East Side in opposing the radical redevelopment of their traditionally immigrant community located on the waterfront between the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges, which the CIM Group, along with Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner, are principal players.
Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, who is attempting to subject the “Two Bridges” development to ULURP [Uniform Land Use Review Procedure], said this week, that the CIM Group should “stop hiring contractors that break the law, exploit workers and put the public at risk.”
The rising role of private equity players in real estate has created an environment where more and more developers, landlords, and contractors care less and less about what’s legal, and instead think in terms of what they can get away with. — Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer.
“The rising role of private equity players in real estate has created an environment where more and more developers, landlords, and contractors care less and less about what’s legal, and instead think in terms of what they can get away with,” Brewer said in a statement supporting union construction workers. “CIM Group should be part of the solution instead of part of the problem.”
New York State’s Common Retirement Fund has invested a combined $425 million in CIM funds.
New York City Council Member [D-District 45] and candidate for NYC public advocate, Jumaane Williams, said it’s high time private equity firms like the CIM Group who depend on public pension money were held accountable.
“I stand firmly with the union construction workers demanding that CIM stop hiring irresponsible construction contractors who break the law, exploit workers and put the public and investors at risk,” Williams said in a statement. “The next public advocate should use their position on the NYCERS board to require private equity firms like CIM, who invest our pension money, to hire only responsible contractors who follow the law.”
At one point, Kushner was involved in CIM’s development of a million square feet of luxury residential housing at 85 Jay Street in Brooklyn. In that mega-development, the CIM Group tapped the Casino Development Group to pour concrete. The head of the State Insurance Fund of New York, just so happens to be suing Casino for allegedly failing to pay nearly $2.7 million in Workers’ Compensation premiums.
The CIM Group has already adopted its own responsible contractor policy that seemingly would, if enforced, would preclude the kind of shady building practices that have raised the hackles of trade unionists and elected officials alike.
“We’ve gotten some response, but then they pull away — hopefully, we can get them back to the table to try and work on things,” said Moore.
Efforts to reach the CIM Group for comment have been unsuccessful.