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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Live from City Hall: Armory Negotiations Heating Up

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.

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?

Stay tuned.


  1. I'm glad Avi's there trying to force others to be living wage employers when his company (Morton Williams) wouldn't qualify as such.

    Instead of trying to kill a supermarket at the Armory, KARA and the Bronx CC delegation should be demanding a huge supermarket with reasonable prices, fresh and healthy food, and efficient checkout, etc. to serve the supermarket wasteland of the Northwest Bronx.

    But alas, MW's money talks louder than the needs of residents.

  2. Thank You Alex

    While everyone I see has been basjing Koppell on trying to get community input-Maria Baez has been nowhere to be found!. Reports sadly are however, is that she is not well. If true, it is good indeed that Mr Caberea is there to assist.

    At least Koppell now knows how his residents feel-and should use this for amno in his discussions.

    As Northwest Bronx Democrats (like the Norwood News editorial staff and Assemblyman Jose Rivera) have said from Day 1: VOTE NO

  3. I told all of you that Fernando Cabera will do the Job


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