Here is a press release from today’s union bike protest:
JANITORS, BIKERS AND “THE ETHICIST” RIDE AGAINST RACE TO THE BOTTOM IN NYC LUXURY BUILDINGS
-Working Conditions at some Cornerstone Luxury Residential Buildings Denounced as Substandard-
New York, NY – Cyclists swamped Park Avenue South today in the family-friendly Ride for the American Dream protest of a “race to the bottom” at some luxury residential buildings developed by TF Cornerstone.
“We don’t begrudge Cornerstone’s success,” said Larry Engelstein, Executive Vice President Elect of 32BJ. “But when you charge $5,000 for a 2 bedroom, shouldn’t you provide the workers who run these buildings with what they need to live and advance in New York City?” That’s what’s expected in our city, that’s what responsible landlords have been paying for decades.
Cyclists and supporters of the New York City residential building service workers, including former New York Times Ethics columnist Randy Cohen, and Larry Engelstein, Officer of 32BJ SEIU, wore bright T-shirts and signs that read “$2 for the American Dream” while gathering outside Cornerstone’s headquarters on Park Ave South. Then rode across the Queenboro Bridge into the Long Island City waterfront where Cornerstone has several luxury buildings.
“In a country as wealthy as ours, a prosperous employer has an ethical obligation to provide employees with decent benefits. Could the developers of luxury buildings increase their profits by refusing such minimal demands? Sure. Much as coal companies once increased theirs by hiring six-year-olds or factory owners by demanding a 60 hour week. But that’s not my idea of the American dream,” said Randy Cohen, former New York Times’ Ethicist.
Building service workers charge that T.F. Cornerstone, one of the fastest growing real estate developers in New York City, is denying its service workers industry-standard security, retirement, safety-training, citizenship assistance, scholarships and advancement opportunities afforded to 55,000 building workers in the city.
With more than 120,000 members in eight states and Washington, D.C., including 70,000 members in New York, 32BJ SEIU is the largest union of property service workers in the country and the largest private sector union in the states.
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