Jobs Could Improve Health of the Bronx, Advocates Tell Its Residents

Monday, October 22, 2012

Community health advocates in the Bronx say more jobs for the community could improve the overall health of the borough, which suffers from the highest diabetes and asthma rates in the city.

Health People and Green Bronx Machine are encouraging Bronx residents to apply for 200 jobs up for grabs over the next three months at FreshDirect, the online grocer that's moving to the Mott Haven neighborhood in 2015.

"Unemployment clearly contributes to diabetes because it makes people depressed and when they're depressed, they tend to eat more and sit more," Chris Norwood, executive director of Health People, said in an interview.

The Bronx has an unemployment rate of 12.8 percent, much higher than the 9.6 percent citywide average and the highest of any county in the state, according to the New York State Department of Labor.

FreshDirect has pledged to create 1000 new jobs by the time the new facility is fully operational, at least 300 of them for Bronx residents. The new positions include 75 plant jobs and 125 transportation jobs that pay around $11 or $12 an hour.


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Comments [18]

Johanwilliam from UK


Thanks for this great post. I am pleased to read because it is helpful for us.
health and safety jobs

Again thanks

Feb. 03 2013 08:07 AM
Executive Pa Jobs West London from UK

Hi I’m watching your blog. Your blog are very nice and thanks for sharing this. I am very impressed from your blog.

Oct. 29 2012 03:48 AM
David Brandon from Port Morris

To add some facts to the matter about asthma:

Oct. 27 2012 10:33 PM

Kevin - well you are mis-informed or lying then... because any company moving to that area is able to apply for tax credits because it's depressed. Likewise any company that wants to purchase clean energy fleet vehicles can get tax credits. Of course the bigger the company - the bigger the credit.
Ayn Rand??? I'm no Republican... but that comment also is senseless since Democrats are in favor of credits for clean energy fleet vehicles.

Oct. 26 2012 03:34 PM
Bobbay from BX

The same 6 anti-FreshDirect "advocates" spam every article about the company, in every publication, with their comments. If they had a real argument or had real support, they wouldn't need to do that.

Oct. 23 2012 09:01 PM
Kevin from Port Morris

to AG
I own a business in the South Bronx.
Well, hard to address your ayn randian position, but how about some facts. Smith electric is years away from moving to the Port Morris area and they are doing that too with your tax money. As for the ten trucks FreshDirect will by from them maybe, they are supported by $10 million CASH form WE the taxpayers, how's that for an unfair competitive advantage?
The debate is not about jobs etc it is about how best to use public resources and public land, in this case FD does not cut it, just corporate welfare. Let them hire more people where they are without $127 million in our monies. I have to pay taxes and am not getting money to buy a new fleet for my business.

Oct. 23 2012 10:20 AM

Reading some of the comments on here is quite disturbing. As far as all this foolish talk of "living wage jobs". Guess what - my parents came to this country with no college education and I watched them work 2 jobs each and go to college at the same time!!! They had four kids and we all went to college. My uncle worked up his way from a clerk to a manager at Macy's while attending Fordham University. Give me a break. Some ppl are just lazy. Sure - who wouldn't want to be a clerk and get paid $50k a year. Nice - but not realistic. Persons without education or training NEED these entry level jobs. These ppl are not too different than the ppl who complained about the jobs at the Barclays. Well I went to a boxing match there and ALL those ppl sure looked happy to have a job (which Mike Tyson himself said the same when being interviewed - to cheers from the crowd).
Port Morris is full of trucks yes - but not the only place.... Smith Electric just moved into the neighborhood. Fresh Direct is buying 10 trucks from them. They plan to convert their whole fleet within 5 years.... but that still doesn't please some of the complainers - who themselves don't create jobs... just complain.

Oct. 22 2012 11:33 PM

Most comments here come from a narrow minded, small group of people that spend way too much time talking to each other - and believe their own BS. After months of nagging, they can't even get to 500 names on an electronic petition to 'boycott' Fresh Direct. 500? They don't know how to accomplish anything more than playing in little community gardens and call it "food-security". They can't imagine people making informed decisions that don't fit their limited activist narrative, so they assume others can disagree with them only if they're being paid off somehow. so weak. And btw, what business doesn't include an increase in vehicles of some sort? They have no idea on how to create jobs, which why none of them are listened to anyway - and why they have so much time to waste on the internet accomplishing nothing as usual.

Oct. 22 2012 05:37 PM
Mott Haven Resident from Mott Haven

Health People and Green Bronx Machine - your ignorance is offensive and has the potential to cause real harm. Of the 125 (not 200) jobs being offered by FreshDirect, 1/3 are part time jobs at $8/hour. This is what you are advocating for, knowing that FreshDirect will bring 938 diesel truck trips through Mott Haven/Port Morris every day, where asthma rates are already 8 times the national average?

WNYC - it would be great if you did some thoughtful reporting on this issue. Any issues of impropriety relating to this $130 million deal being forced upon the South Bronx with no public hearing and no community input before it was announced as a done deal? Bloomberg and Ackerman (Peter, not Jason) are all over the news together...

Oct. 22 2012 12:56 PM
Elizabeth from Mott Haven, South Bronx

Using the social determinants of health as justification for a project that creates physical detriments to the health of neighborhood residents is a low blow. In order to feed their families, unemployed Bronxites have to sacrifice their health and the health of their neighbors and their children? Our community already has an asthma rate that is EIGHT TIMES the national average. The true environmental cost of this project has not been evaluated and the community has not been engaged in a meaningful dialogue about it's effect on our air and our streets. Despite the PR, Fresh Direct is not the answer to our borough's problems.

Oct. 22 2012 12:51 PM
Ruben Austria from Mott Haven

Here's how FreshDirect's jobs will affect the South Bronx: (1) people struggling with poverty apply for low-wage, low-skill jobs; (2) the truck trips through the neighborhood will exacerbate the already astronomical asthma rates in the neighborhood; (3) children in schools like PS 43 located right along the truck route will miss more school due to asthma hospitalizations; (4) children who miss more school will fall behind academically and be less likely to pursue post-secondary education where they could gain skills for higher wage jobs; (5) these children, now grown, will take low-wage, low-skill jobs with company's that use the South Bronx for private gain... Repeat steps 1 through 5... Unless WE the COMMUNITY stop this project - AND STOP IT WE WILL!!!!

Oct. 22 2012 12:35 PM
Laura from Hunt's Point

The premise of the comments by these "advocates" in the blog post is a bit bizarre. It seems condescending that they have to encourage people to look and apply for jobs to Fresh Direct? As if we are not already looking around and applying for jobs already? Weird elitist tone there. Not surprising since they are an Irving Plaza area Manhattan based "bronx" group

Oct. 22 2012 12:07 PM
Lily Kesselman from South Bronx

This is the most ridiculous piece I've ever read. Did they just copy & paste the press release from Fresh Direct?

FreshDirect found 2 "health" advocates promote this, while millions of dollars are being GIVEN to FreshDirect to promote low-wage jobs bringing 1000 daily vehicle trips per day through the neighborhood. This project sparked a boycott as many, many residents oppose this corporate welfare.

Jason Ackerman of FreshDirect lives in a luxurious SoHo loft. FreshDirect will be exempt from a living wage. FreshDirect makes promises - they will say anything to get their $127 million and waterfront property. FreshDirect continues to spend money on PR, marketing and hiring consultants to promote their brand while residents will be burdened with more asthma and millions of dollars NOT going into their neighborhoods, their schools, their civic programs and communities.

Jason Ackerman calls many of the subsidies "phantom" subsidies since they are tax breaks, not cash. But those breaks are at the backs of our citizens suffering from closing schools, the highest asthma rates in the city, and 49% of children living below the poverty level. These low-wages jobs provide millions in profit for FreshDirect while employees will need to support their incomes with assistance for housing and food. This is called "corporate welfare".

This is the PERFECT example of career politicians selling out their constituents to promote their careers. Diaz sold us out. In addition to funding parking lots now going into bankruptcy, he's offering $1 million in cash for FreshDirect.

Maybe these writers can do their homework and report what is actually happening, not just retyping press releases.

Oct. 22 2012 11:47 AM
Mychal from Mott Haven from Bronx

If this project is so good for the Bronx, why does the city, state and freshdirect have to be sued to perform a full Environmental impact study? Why are they Relying on a study that's 20 years old? Why would they pay a one time environmental advocate to help sell this as a good thing for the Bronx? Why would Bronx green machine's founder who's a teacher advocate for a project that takes well needed tax dollars from public school children?
Why would a health advocate think jobs are the key to better health, when diesel truck exhaust contains carcinogens = asthma causer. The only logical answer is $130 million in corporate welfare. The saddest part about it all, our children pay for this abuse with their education and lives. If you're not part of the solution, your part of the problem. Shut your damn mouth!!!!!!

Oct. 22 2012 11:10 AM
Ramon from Highbridge

Sad to see the old divide and conquer strategy being used against my people in the South Bronx just like they tried with the atlantic development yards in brooklyn, buying some marginal people off to speak for the community. Living wage jobs? That commenter is misinformed and maybe that explains her support. FreshDIrect was specifically kept out of the living wage bill. I see a lot of facts and information on the internets!

Oct. 22 2012 09:59 AM

Wanda, you are mistaken and need to speak from an informed and responsible position! To clarify, Green Bronx Machine is an organization; it is not just one person nor is it a one person operation. Further, Green Bronx Machine nor the Founder are receiving any funding/payment of any sort from any of those involved. A quote was requested from the Founder, and one was given in the spirit of employing Bronx residents with regard to living wage positions. It bears noting that to date, the Founder has supported many of the organizations opposing Fresh Direct on many projects, in many communities and locations across the South Bronx and has not taken nor asked for any salary for that work. Additionally, Green Bronx Machine as an organization, has also written letters of support for South Bronx organizations pursuing funding; all in the spirit of cooperation and coalition. What is sad is when people speak without acknowledging facts; solely to support their agenda. Perhaps if both sides met in a proactive manner, a compromise could be reached that would benefit all. Surely, just saying no to a project without proposing any alternatives is not a viable solution.

Oct. 22 2012 09:50 AM
Wanda from Melrose

This is sad and insulting. WNYC should talk to more sources. This is clearly an instance where these "groups" are getting paid to promote Fresh Direct due to the LOCAL and citywide opposition that you have written about.
"Health People" is based near Union Square, not in the Bronx, they make money off the Bronx.
And the Bronx Green Machine is not an organization, it is one guy.
Encouraging that this is the best that the millions of public monies that was offered to this polluting company could come up with. Sad for those two people though.

Oct. 22 2012 08:43 AM
VMGILLEN from North Shore, Staten Island

This is a deal with the devil, and requires careful thought. Allow the heavy trucking into your neighborhood to fight asthma? One wonders about the funding sources for these two groups. NPR could balance this report with an investigation into industries and businesses with unwelcome, unhealthy environmental impacts moving into low income communities using the promise of jobs. Those jobs, if they materialize, are not worth the impact on the community, or worth compromising the health of our children, and their children... in effect, you've blown the future to meet the needs of the moment.

Oct. 22 2012 07:38 AM

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