Brooklyn deserves responsible development

Development in Brooklyn is certainly on the rise. Next Tuesday, Aug. 18, Borough President Eric Adams will listen to testimony in Borough Hall on the proposed $52 million sale of the Brooklyn Heights Library to a developer, Hudson Companies.

Hudson Companies is looking to use part of the library space to construct a 36 story residential building and renovate the remaining library space. It will also build 114 affordable-housing units in Clinton Hill. However, they have not provided any assurances that they will build and operate with responsible employers. Or ensure that workers will receive family sustaining wages and benefits.

As a construction worker who lives and works in Brooklyn, I am disappointed. Many developers in Brooklyn build and operate with responsible employers – companies that create good, safe jobs and opportunities for their employees, and maintain a level playing field for responsible employers. Brooklyn deserves nothing less on the library.

I speak from first-hand experience when I say that having a good job can dramatically change someone’s life. It has allowed me to stay in Brooklyn even though rents are going up. I have health insurance for my family and in a few years my daughter will be able to go to college. I can support my family on one job.

My own family came to this country from Barbados in search of a better life. There are many people in the same situation as my family. Hudson companies can make a difference and help other families provide a future for their children in Brooklyn. We have a responsibility to look out for each other and make New York work for everyone.

Construction is still one of the most dangerous jobs out there. We work at great heights, with complex materials and machines and we do it all in, and above, one of the busiest cities in the world. Mayor de Blasio’s 2015 Management Report noted the rise in construction-related injuries and construction-related accidents.The Mayor’s 2015 Management Report found that construction accidents have increased by 39% and 21% respectively from the same period studied in 2014.

NYCOSH’s recent report, ‘Price of Life: 2015 Report on Construction Fatalities NYC,’ also found that projects were irresponsible contractors are employed are significantly less safe.

Last month, Brooklyn Community Board 2 strongly recommended that the Hudson Companies enter into a meaningful written, binding agreement to provide real benefits for the community and the workers who will build and maintain the development. One that truly holds Hudson Companies accountable.

Now it’s up to Hudson Companies to bring to Brooklyn affordable housing and good jobs on the Brooklyn Heights Library project.

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