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Discord Over Worker Benefits at Kingsbridge Project

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A City Council subcommittee has heard from both sides in the lively debate over the Kingsbridge Armory in the Bronx. The Related Companies wants to turn the former National Guard facility into one of the city's largest shopping malls.

City Council Member Robert Jackson says he supports a campaign by unions and community groups to require retailers to pay $10-an-hour plus benefits. He says anything less would qualify a family-of-four for the federal poverty level.

JACKSON: That means that people are going to come to work there basically as indentured servants on behalf of employers in order to scrunch and scrimp in order to survive.

REPORTER: But Glenn Goldstein, president of Related's retail division, says a $10-an-hour minimum will scare retailers away.

GOLDSTEIN: We strongly believe that if there was a requirement to put that into the leases it would make the project unleasable, and therefore unviable, and we wouldn't be able to finance it and there'd be no project.

REPORTER: Mayor Bloomberg supports the developer's position. The City Council has until early December to take a vote.

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