BILTMORE HOUSING PROJECT MOVES FORWARD
The New York City Planning Commission was scheduled to review the proposal for the Biltmore 47 Project on Sept. 10, as this issue went to press, and to vote on the project on Sept. 12. The next step will be a review by the City Council’s Land Use Committee.
Local 802 is a member of the Biltmore Labor Coalition (see last month’s Allegro), which is urging the project’s developers to set aside 15 percent of the units in the residential tower for theatre-industry professionals and residents of the neighborhoods represented by Community Boards 4 and 5. Rent would be charged on a sliding scale based on income. The coalition currently includes the New York State AFL-CIO, Actors’ Equity Association, IATSE Local 1, the Association of Theatrical Press Agents and Managers, Dramatist’s Guild, the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, Screen Actors’ Guild, and The Actors’ Fund.
NEW YORK STATE MOVES TOWARD BUDGET
This summer – four months after the budget was legally due, on April 1 – the New York State Legislature passed a bare-bones budget, in an effort to force Governor Pataki to negotiate and agree to spend more on schools, health care and other social programs. The Legislature’s budget cut $4 billion from Pataki’s proposal and stripped the state of authority to spend approximately $53 billion that had been set aside in previous years but not spent. But rather than negotiating, Pataki sued the Legislature – contending that lawmakers had overstepped constitutional limits on how much they can change his budget bills.
As this issue went to press, it appeared that the Governor and Legislature were finally making progress in budget talks, and might reach an agreement to increase state spending on schools and other important programs within days.
WORK-RELATED DEATHS DECLINE
The federal government has released statistics showing that the number of job-related deaths in the United States dropped in 2000 – for the third straight year, and the fifth out of the last six years. Falls – usually occurring on construction sites – are the only type of fatal occupational accident that have increased sharply. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires fall protection for anyone working above six feet. One reason that accidents are increasing may be that the recent boom in construction has led to the employment of workers who lack sufficient training.
RALLY PROTESTS MANDATORY WORK FOR NYCHA RESIDENTS
The New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), the agency responsible for publicly subsidized housing, recently proposed that community service be required of all public housing residents. NYCHA is proposing that residents perform eight hours of community service, unpaid and without training, or face the possibility of eviction.
On Aug. 21 the Alliance for a Working Economy, an organization made up of labor unions and tenant advocacy groups, marched from City Hall across the Brooklyn Bridge to an NYCHA hearing at the Brooklyn Marriot on the proposed mandatory community service. Hundreds of workers and tenants rallied to have the proposal struck down and replaced with certified apprenticeship training.
JOIN GLOBAL JUSTICE WEEK
This week of action – Sept. 25-30 in Washington, D.C. – will shine a light on policies of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, which hold their annual meetings that week. The Global Justice Week coalition includes the labor movement, environmentalists, students, people of faith and community activists. Its key demands: stop the NAFTA-like Free Trade Area of the Americas trade agreement and “Fast Track” trade negotiating authority for President Bush; reform IMF and World Bank policies and developing nations’ debt; and full funding to fight the world HIV/AIDS crisis. For more info, visit www.aflcio.org/globaleconomy.