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Workers to Ratner: Hey, where are the jobs?

The Brooklyn Paper
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Local workers who once championed the Atlantic Yards project have turned their back on developer Forest City Ratner — vowing to protest every two weeks until they get what they were promised: thousands of jobs.

About 100 people rallied outside the in-progress Barclays Center on Wednesday morning to demand jobs and contracts for minority workers, many of them from the community organizations that loudly supported the controversial project.

“We pushed for Atlantic Yards from 2003 until the project got going,” said Martin Allen, president of People for Political and Economic Empowerment. “Now they shut the doors on us.”

Allen, a 61-year-old union worker, said that his group — which finds jobs for hard-to-employ people such as ex-cons — has yet to receive any contracts. Instead, he said, Ratner is hiring laborers from outside the community.

From the beginning, developer Bruce Ratner touted the 15,000 construction jobs he would bring to the area.

But those jobs are in short supply since most of the Atlantic Yards mega-project has stalled. The development is supposed to include the basketball arena and up to 16 residential and office towers, though everything but the arena is on hold.

Ratner also announced in March that his first residential tower might be built using prefabricated steel boxes — jeopardizing hundreds of union jobs.

Atlantic Yards spokesman Joe DePlasco said that 543 people are working on the arena and 217 of them are from Brooklyn. He promised thousands more jobs if the larger project ever gets off the ground.

“Unfortunat­ely, there have been significant delays due to litigation and, more recently, the recession,” he said.

DePlasco said that Forest City Ratner aims to start construction on the first residential tower by the end of this year. But Allen and other workers say they’ve heard enough empty guarantees.

“We’re going to start hitting them where it hurts and let them know what they’re doing is wrong to the people of Brooklyn,” said Allen, whose group is an offshoot of REBUILD, an organization launched by the late Fort Greene activist Darnell Canada.

Canada was once an advocate for BUILD — a local group that signed a “benefits agreement” with Ratner to secure local jobs for the project — but resigned in 2004 citing BUILD’s focus on “financial self gain.”

The arena is on target to open next September.

Updated 4:06 pm, July 28, 2011: An earlier version of this online story mentioned the wrong day of the rally. Look, we're so busy we don't even know what day it is! And we did alter the headline to be more accurate.
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Reasonable discourse

Joe Z. from Greenpoint says:
“We pushed for Atlantic Yards from 2003 until the project got going,” said Martin Allen, president of People for Political and Economic Empowerment. “Now they shut the doors on us.”

Suckers! Did you actually believe your silly group has the juice to be taken seriously? You momos probably spent more time coming up with that pretentious organizational moniker than considering the possibility of being nothing more than Ratner's useful idiots. Money talks. People for Political and Economic Empowerment fulfilled Ratners purpose and have been deemed irrelevant in the big picture..
July 28, 2011, 1:47 am
D. Williams from Boerum Hill says:
It is hard to believe that anyone took Ratner's promises seriously. He appears to be much favored by the politicians and the Chairwoman of the CPC. The stadium is really the only thing he is concerned about, and if you believe there will be any low income housing in this mix, I assure you it will be minimal. Remember the complete fiasco of the traffic and parking changes, and don't hold your breath for anything resonable unless it means profit for Ratner and whoever he supports politically.
July 28, 2011, 2:25 am
jj from Brooklyn says:
suckers is right. they shudda read the funny papers.
July 28, 2011, 7:50 am
Rob from Bay Ridge says:
Bad situation for construction workers who need to feed their families, but no one should be surprised at how this is playing out. Only hope, in my opinion, is a stall until a change of Administration at City Hall and hopefully a more people-oriented, as opposed to a business-oriebted Mayor.
July 28, 2011, 8:10 am
Norman Oder from Brooklyn says:
PPEE is not a reincarnation of REBUILD, but more an alter ego. Both existed simultaneously for years; REBUILD is in abeyance.

Also, the headline is misleading; most of those protesting were nonunion workers.

See more coverage on my Atlantic Yards Report blog.

Norman Oder
July 28, 2011, 11:50 am
Kalahari Dessert from Brooklyn says:
Now hold on there! Don't you have any patience? The jobs he lined up on his Turkey trip are coming.
July 28, 2011, 12:05 pm
Eazy D from Sheepshead Bay says:
Kalahari, I think you mean China trip. Don't you read the work of the "great" Norm Odor?
July 28, 2011, 11:06 pm
Jim from Cobble Hill says:
wow... people actually BELIEVED that the Ratner project would generate jobs and not be a corner-cutting bare bones effeciency consultant driven machine, squeezing every last quarterly dollar out of the massive footprint it takes up?
July 29, 2011, 12:23 pm
LEERY QUERIES says:
What about the hiring situation at the BROOKLYN NAVY YARD? They aren't hiring in the "hood either.
July 29, 2011, 12:57 pm
Sick and Tired from Clinton Hill says:
Well hold on a minute. Which one of the signatories of the CBA was responsible for training and preparing community residents for jobs, identifying local minority contractors to participate in the construction and other services after construction? Ah yes I remember who they where BUILD. What does BUILD have to say in its defense as to why they have not met their obligations when James Caldwell put his signature to the CBA? What say you Mr. Caldwell?
July 29, 2011, 1:56 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
It's about time that those who fell for Ratner's promises hook, line, and sinker, finally step up and realize that they have been lied to. In reality, the CBA was nothing but a gag order that they had sold their souls to just by giving their names to just like those who had to confess just to avoid a hanging when being claimed to be a witch durring the Puritain days. I would love to see what Bertha Lewis and Jamed Cadwell will have to say about this. Ratner is nothing but a liar and needed people who were gullible enough to believe everything he said only push the project forward, and nothing else. Most of the jobs are going to either relocated employees or to a bunch of Chineese entering the country through the EB-5 Program. Seriously, did anyone really think Ratner was going hire locals for this?
July 29, 2011, 2:38 pm
Eazy D's conscience from Sheepshead Bay says:
Sorry 'bout that. I'm a pseudonymous jerk.
July 29, 2011, 3:21 pm
Joe Z. from Greenpoint says:
"PPEE"

That's what Ratner did. All over them.
July 29, 2011, 8:13 pm
david from park slope says:
they are all union paid people down there,, every last one of them.. The guys protesting dont know how to work and should look to Oboma for the free ride.
July 29, 2011, 9:18 pm
Margaret from Gowanus says:
Ratner's project is a sham that was shoved down Brooklyn's throat and anyone who supported it was an idiot for now seeing it for what it was. Sorry. But regardless of all that is being exposed now, Brooklyn has been destroyed because of this. It's too late to undo the damage done, and that will be done.
July 29, 2011, 11:24 pm
Margaret from Gowanus says:
I meant: anyone who supported it was an idiot for not seeing it for what it was.
July 29, 2011, 11:26 pm
Sick and Tired from Clinton Hill says:
@David only an idiot would make a statement like that. I guess you got your union job through your father, brother, or some family friend. The protesters are protesting for jobs not a free ride.
July 29, 2011, 11:47 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Margaret, this can be stopped, but the problem is who is actually going to stand up to it. Anyone can say that it's wrong, but how many are willing to actually do this in public rather than just say it on some faceless message board? I was never silent on this, and attended many hearing and events on this very issue, not mention spoke out there. Right now, Phase II hasn't even been started, and that can be changed. Don't forget that later financial issues can delay the arena as with some new findings now that the ESDC has to come up with them. As for the other group who protested, FUREE was always against this, and I know that from hearing their stance years ago, and they still are against this, because they saw through Ratner from the start. Now those former supporters know that they were the sheep who lead to the slaughterhouse.
July 31, 2011, 1:53 pm
MJ from Ft. Greene says:
Not surprising at all. Ratner has no shame. Goes with the article on the construction workers DRIVING to work and parking in illegal spots in the neighborhood. Locals would walk or take the bus. What do you say now Bertha Lewis?
Aug. 1, 2011, 6:21 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Berth Lewis signed a gag order when she agreed with Ratner, so she can't openly criticize it. She will either remain silent on this or try to rush into Ratner's defense on this. I do find it an irony that she was calling the support for a Wal-Mart at Gateway Plaza a bait and switch while ignoring the one she was part of for this. On a side note, I find it an irony that the media is calling for the funding of a new stadium for the Islanders a boondoggle, but at the same time ignored that on the new facilities for the Yankees, Mets, Jets, and even the Nets while saying about that. What makes that one so different than this one? Could be because the other one is not in NYC, while this one is?
Aug. 1, 2011, 4:02 pm
HappyLeader from NewYork says:
Who was it that said: "There's a sucker born every minute"?
Was it P.T. Barnum? No matter. Whomever it was must be looking at all the fools (other of course than the bribe recipients) who supported this projected and saying: "See what I mean'!
Aug. 2, 2011, 1:19 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
On a side note, I think that it is abundandly clear that they're would be jobs aplenty had not scarce resources been wasted on installing bike lanes where nobody wanted them in the first place aside from a handful of underemployed bike zealots. It is prooven fact that road infrastrcutre for trucks and cars gives an immesurable boast to the local economy. Please don't attack me on my views, as I am merely stating a fact which you don't have to agree with but you do have to accept and live with it.
Aug. 22, 2011, 7:45 am
Angie from Midwood says:
Well most people could tell that entire promise for jobs was a lie from the beginning. The recession just gave a good excuse. I agree with a few of the other comments, I mean it's kind of too late but better to know now and be exposed to the lies now than it being sugar coated. I never supported this project, especially since it did not focus on the needs of the people in the area and it excluded them in many ways (in the process of being built and I feel like when it's done it'll also have no positive impact on the community). Plus there are past projects (I believe Yankee Stadium was one) where similar things happened and alienated the people. So, in that respect, I feel that it was something you should have seen coming but then again, not everyone is privileged to the same information.

To be honest, just reading some of these comments I'm slightly horrified. I'd hate to be in a situation where I was promised a job, don't get it, and then not only are people attacking me saying I'm an "idiot" and "gullible" but then going as far as stereotyping me and say I should "depend on free hand outs" even when I'm looking to work.
I really worry how close minded a lot of adults are. I'm only a student and I hardly expect everyone to just "KNOW" that Ratner's promises were lies. Maybe instead of laying down insults, people could take a few minutes to understand that not everyone is not the same OR in the same position and explain why this plan would have never worked out. I mean it is a community website right? Maybe act like one for once?
Sept. 9, 2011, 4:38 pm

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