We're live from City Hall, where a bunch of reporters, KARA reps, union folks and Related Companies officials (also just saw Avi Kaner, part-owner of Morton Williams supermarkets, which has its headquarters across from the Armory) are milling about, playing the waiting game.
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
All of us are waiting for an update on negotiations between the city and the Bronx delegation of the City Council on an Armory community benefits that would include guarantees of living wage jobs ($10 and hour plus benefits).
Earlier today, we reported that negotiations fell apart last night.
At about 10 a.m., Council member Joel Rivera, who, along with fellow Bronxite Annabel Palma, is taking a leadership role in these negotiations, made an announcement that the Council was prepared to vote down the plan unless the delegation heard from the city and/or Related (at this point we can lump them together as one negotiating team) in an hour.
Clearly, the city came back to the table and the two sides have been talking for the past couple of hours. A little before noon, Rivera and the delegation went from the Council side of City Hall over the mayor's side, which means that perhaps these talks are going higher up the ladder or have entered a new phase.
I just heard from KARA representatives that the main sticking point appears to be which party is ultimately responsible for making sure employees at the revamped shopping mall are paid a living wage.
On Monday, the Bronx delegation put forth a proposal that would create a fund that would subsidize wages at the Armory mall. That's still the proposal on the table. But if the fund doesn't pay fully for the wages, which appears likely, who is responsible for paying the rest of the wage? Related, the owner of the property? The city, which is pushing the project? Or tenants, the shop owners at the mall?
What's clear is that, from all the attention being placed on providing living wage jobs at city-subsidized development projects like the Armory, the issue is not going away any time soon.
And we may not get a definitive answer on negotiations anytime soon. A meeting of the entire Council, scheduled for 1:30 p.m., has been postponed because of the Bronx delegation's deliberations with the city.
Just saw the entire Bronx delegation briskly pass by, going from mayor's side back to the council side. Are they weighing the merits of the city's latest compromise? Lunch?
All Rivera would say is: "we're working, we're working." Well, that's something.
One last tidbit for now: Council member-elect Fernando Cabera (14th District) is in on the negotiations. Where's Maria Baez?