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Bedford-Union Armory developers promise union jobs, training programs

If the development goes through, employees on site will be part of 32BJ SEIU

Ariel view of Bedford-Union Armory in Crown Heights BFC Partners

The contentious Bedford-Union Armory redevelopment project hasn’t exactly won over Crown Heights residents, but developer BFC Partners and 32BJ SEIU announced today that they’ve struck a deal to staff the project with union labor, and—if the project is approved—create a job training program on-site, reports the New York Daily News.

According to a press release, the development will “provide good jobs for building service workers at the site”—including at least some “longtime Crown Heights residents”—and all workers “paid the family-sustaining building service worker prevailing wage and benefit rate.”

Overseen jointly by the developers and the union, the training program will offer local residents training and resources needed to become doormen, porters, janitors, security officers, and superintendents—all positions often represented by 32BJ.

“We are proud to work with 32BJ to make the revitalization of the Bedford-Union Amory a win-win for residents and workers in the Crown Heights community,” Don Capoccia, principal at BFC Partners, said in a statement. “Our long-term partnership with 32BJ will also provide local residents with new pathways to the middle class for themselves and their families.”

Whether residents will see it as a “win-win” is less clear. Vaughn Armour, a member of New York Communities for Change and 18-year resident of Crown Heights, seemed unconvinced that the union contracts were any more than “bells and whistles” intended to distract “from the simple fact that this development is not for the people of Crown Heights but instead for wealthier white newcomers,” he told the Daily News.