New York City construction workers have taken over an empty former building site that was once home to one of the world’s largest garment factories, as well as several small- and medium-sized businesses.
Workers in the New York-based International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) and the Building Trades Unions of America (BTTU) have begun to construct a two-story, four-bedroom, two-and-a-half bathroom building on the former garment factory site on the east side of Manhattan.
The building will house a kitchen, laundry room, a bedroom, an office and a parking garage, according to a BTTU news release.
Brent Pankowski, an IBEW construction director, said the building is intended to house an employee who works in the office, but the project has not yet been finalized.
Pankowski said the project will be completed by late fall.
The IBEW is one of several organizations that have been working on the project, which will also include the New Jersey Department of Transportation.
The IBEW says the building will include a restaurant, a parking lot and a restaurant-like space for workers who are currently employed in the factory.BTT U.S. President Bill Sweeney said the IBEW will take control of the site and move the work to a location close to the garment factory.
He said the construction of the building was one of a number of projects that will be announced soon.
The BTT U.-led effort to save the factory will include the removal of garbage and debris from the site, as part of a new garbage collection plan the IBew announced last month.
Pulaski-Bates said the BTT United has been working with the IBGW for a number the past few years to try to save this factory.
He said that he hopes the IBTWS project will serve as a catalyst for other construction projects that seek to save garment factories.PULaski said there’s been a lot of good news in the last couple of years about the success of the IBW, including the recent bankruptcy filing of the company.
He also noted that the IBWE was the only union in the building, which was owned by the company for a period of time.
The union has been trying to negotiate with the company since 2014.
Pankowicz said he hopes to have an agreement in place by September.BETTER FUTURE, BETTER LIFEGUARDINGThe IBGW said the workers will be paid a salary that’s consistent with the average hourly wage for garment workers in New York state.
It also said that the workers would have health insurance, as the IBWW said it is paying for the new building’s roof.
Pancholy said the union is looking to pay for the building’s exterior.
Pancholy is hopeful that the project won’t cause any further economic hardship for the workers, who are employed in temporary construction work.PANCHOLY: We have been making the case for a few years that there are other ways to save an industry, including a union, and to actually be able to build something that works, and this is a great example of that.
The company has had so many challenges that they have been unable to sustain the workforce that’s needed to keep this factory running.