Sunday, November 30, 2008

Union construction jobs vs. Chinatown businesses

Think about this for a moment, the 2-3 year construction project at Chatham Square will employ literally hundreds of union construction laborers, insuring that their jobs are secure throughout the project. At the same time one by one Chinatown small businesses will rapidly drop like flies as detours, traffic snarls, and water interruptions drive tourists and business away.

LMDC is far from making any promises to add Chinatown businesses to the list of people desperately waiting in line for their meager symbolic cash handout supposedly to "compensate" them for inconveniences to their business during construction. Those poor souls unfortunate enough to be on a perpetually unearthed street in lower Manhattan are STILL waiting for their checks to come in, some have gone under waiting.

As Chinatown small businesses fail, the affects will be nothing short of catastrophic as the people who rely on meager wages are cut down at the knees and forced to look for work, and in this economy !
If the City forces this reconstruction plan through, it is a clear message that this administration cares more about keeping union workers employed in its projects than keeping THIS ethnic enclave alive and flourishing.

What should be a no-brainer - ie: hold off on a $50 million dollar do-over of a failed ten year old redesign, is instead fast becoming an insurance policy for big union contractors already fat from the City's other drawn out projects.

Chinatown should NOT be the sacrificial lamb at the Mayor's table.

This reconstruction plan is flawed, it is not ready to be presented, much less voted on by Community Board 3, and if the choice is to employ a few hundred union workers to keep a political promise (or gain potential votes for an upcoming mayoral run) or not to and give Chinatown a chance to catch up the worst economic climate since the depression, we choose the later .

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