Written by Daniel Offner Thursday, 28 November 2013 00:00
As village and county officials touted the launch of the long-awaited TDI-Bartone property development, workers with Carpenters Local Union 290 rallied along the Long Island Railroad platform, in protest of the project.
According to union officials, the laborers picketed the worksite over the developer’s refusal to pay area standards—a schedule of prevailing union wages or benefits.
“It’s not a union/non-union issue,” said council representative Anthony Macagnone. “They’re getting tax incentives, but [the developers] feel they can pay less than the standard.”
As an added incentive for the development project, the Nassau County Industrial Development Agency agreed to payment in lieu of taxes, giving the developer a substantial tax break to help finance the construction. Despite the tax incentives, union workers are hired at a standard rate of pay, which Macagnone said had the developers hiring workers that undercut the area standards.
Anthony Bartone, a life-long Farmingdale resident and the developer of the Jefferson Plaza project, said that while all of the hired laborers are local Long Island-based contractors, only half are union carpenters.
“We were very disappointed to see that [union members] came out to protest,” Bartone said. “I still am puzzled why they were there.”
Bartone added that he was confused as to why union carpenters decided to rally, since both of the developers involved in the project are still active in the negotiations. He added that the contracts that were awarded, were given to the highest quality contractors on Long Island, who have also been enlisted to work on similar development projects.
“There is a small universe of contractors qualifed to handle something like this,” Bartone said.