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Union Workers Protest at Tritec Site, Mayor Says They Are 'Blowing Smoke'

Group of ironworkers protesting near New Village site, but local officials say Tritec has done plenty to hire union workers.

There are lots of workers currently on site at the Four Corners helping to bring the $100 million New Village project to life, but a group of local ironworkers say they have been shut out. 

Several members of Metallic Lathers Local 46 have been outside on Main Street near the BrickHouse Brewery for several weeks standing next to the infamous inflatable rat that is synonymous with union protests. 

"You have local guys who live in Patchogue, who live on the island who should be working there," said Michael Anderson, a business agent for Local 46. 

Anderson said the workers currently doing the iron work are from North Carolina. 

"A job like this should be local labor," he said. 

Local officials, however, say Tritec Real Estate Company–which is building 291 apartments, 46,000 square feet of retail space and 18,000 square feet of office space at the Four Corners–has done its part to hire as many local union workers as it can. 

"The answer is in the numbers," Patchogue Village Mayor Paul Pontieri said Thursday. "You bid on something and if you get out-bid, you match the numbers. There's no God-given right for anyone to have a job. The God-given right is for you to be able to bid on it and come up with a number that makes it work."

Pontieri said that 65-70 percent of the workers, including plumbers and electricians, on the project right now are union and almost 80 percent of the dollars paid out are to union workers. 

Of the Local 46 workers protesting, the mayor said, "These guys are blowing smoke."

The difference in bids between union and non-union labor on some aspects of the project, including the iron work, has been several million dollars. 

"The numbers are just too high," Pontieri said. "Make the numbers work and you got the job."

County Legis. Rob Calarco, who office is right across the road from the protest, said that while he likes to see local workers on the job who are going to pump their earnings back into the local economy, there was little the county, which gave Tritec $4 million in aid for project's workforce housing component, could do to get more local labor on the job. 

"Unfortunately my hands are tied," said Calarco, who met with the protesting workers in his office and also spoke with Rob Loscalzo, Tritec's chief operating officer, regarding the issue. 

Tritec's pitch to the county was that it would give everyone a fair chance to bid on work at the site and Calarco said he believed the company was doing so. 

"I think they've been making the effort," he said. 

Loscalzo, who has found himself defending the controversial development numerous times over the last several years, said Tritec has sought out the most qualified subcontractors. 

"We met with all of these guys," Loscalzo said. "We gave everyone a fair opportunity." 

"If it doesn't work out for certain groups and they feel that they want to protest, they can certainly exercise that right," he added. 

Loscalzo would not discuss figures related to how much of the labor on the project is union, but he said there are times when people tend to focus on the negative.

"There are a lot of guys working and there are a lot of local contractors involved in this project," he said. "The economics are working down there and there's a reason for that."

Dennis Barone December 20, 2012 at 07:40 PM
That rat looks very familiar
PatchawgFatGuy December 20, 2012 at 09:16 PM
After Sandy and all the damage it caused, if these guys can't find a job in construction they really don't want to work at all. They just want to stand around and watch others go to work.
John Bogack December 21, 2012 at 10:25 AM
As a village resident I supported and still support the Tritect project at New Village but among the reasons I did so was the hope expressed by prominent supporters such as the Mayor that it would create work for local people. Tritec in fact benefitted from millions of dollars of grants and concessions made at several levels of government as an incentive for it to invest in Patchogue Village. Now it turns out that some of the jobs are going to out of state workers it seems. And I have to say it seems because what is clear about this issue is that facts, as usual, seem to be little in evidence. It would be good for Tritec not the Mayor to present true figures on the number of union jobs it has created, and jobs that are being filled by local labor union or not. It would be good to find out too how Suffolk County managed to give away the store without a guarantee that the millions invested in this project wouldn't result in a boost for local labor. How did that happen because ahead lies the Hub in Ronkonkoma. Same scenario of incentives, same Tritec, but if we learn from history not necessarily the same outcome. Maybe this time Suffolk County and Brookhaven Town can use the leverage of grants and concessions to get one from Tritec: no money unless local workers get employed first not someone from No. Carolina if that is the case. If we get some facts and get some answers maybe some room can be found to hire local labor union and non union first and foremost. As it should be.
Lori Cavaco December 21, 2012 at 01:07 PM
Mayor Pontieri is an ardent defender and supporter of himself. The residents and businesses of the Village of Patchogue mean nothing to him as long as he gets his name in print. It is unbelievable that after all the allegations that were brought against him, the residents of the Village reelected this charlatan.
John Cosgrove December 21, 2012 at 01:44 PM
Someone please tell me why this should be a union job?? Why should any job be a union job if the builder can find labor a lot more affordable? Unions have been losing their power big-time across the country over the past 10 years. Scams,grossy inflated costs, lack of prodcution, missed timelines. We Long islanders need look no further than the nonsense that union members get away with at the LIRR and LIPA... That being said this job was " won" with the right bid..What was done wrong??
Jo Miller December 21, 2012 at 01:50 PM
Tritec has been "blowing smoke" from the very moment they proposed this project.
John Bogack December 21, 2012 at 03:04 PM
John I am not sure wrong or right is the standard. I am looking at what is a fair exchange. Tritec has gotten enormous tax paid for grants, and tax concessions. It strikes me as fair to demand in return that Suffolk County workers be employed at that site regardless of union affiliation but local workers first over some one from out of state. Is New Village going to be bult by the cheapest labor that money can buy? If so I guess that Tritec should put that on their brochures as fair warning to all future renters and lessees if that is their view. It's not miine and it should not be the view of the village government either. Patchogue Village is not a junior branch of the Tritec corporation. Elected officials should speak for all not just the connected. Perhaps the Mayor does not feel a need to say that only union labor should be used. OK that is a view but wouldn't it be the view of the majority of people who elected him that Tritec should go out of its way to hire local labor from all walks of life even if it cost them a bit more to do so? Doesn't Tritec want to be a good neighbor to our village and share the weath so to speak by spreading some of the hundred million dollars directly right here by hiring village based businesses and hiring village residents for as many jobs as they are qualifited to do? Maybe they are doing this but if so they should say so now and clear that issue up and if not reconsideration seems in order to me.
Joseph Adriano December 21, 2012 at 03:25 PM
Funny how the Tritec dude wouldn't give figures but they Mayor had them handy. Who is the paid spokesman for Tritec anyway? Welcome to Ratchogue lol.
Lori Cavaco December 21, 2012 at 05:16 PM
How do you know that the job was won "with the right bid?" Many times the lowest bidder also provides the lowest quality. The important consideration is that residents of the Village and other areas of Long Island are being passed over for out of state workers. Do you know that these out of state workers are being paid less than the union workers? Tritec appears to be Mayor Pontieri's "Golden Child." Only time will tell if the quality of their construction merits that title and the tax breaks and grants they have received from many levels of government.
Joseph Adriano December 21, 2012 at 07:09 PM
The Village once gave the construction of a tiered parking garage to the lowest bidder too....look how that worked out.
David Kennedy December 21, 2012 at 08:07 PM
John you make some excellent points, the best being that it should be publicly disclosed what percentage of this projects workforce represents local workers. If I am not mistaken, some of the government grants or special designations awarded were based on a certain promised number of local jobs. It would be nice to know if they are living up to that promise or why they are not. It seems, through the generic statements (there I say "smokey?) made by the Mayor and Tritec, their point is they would hire more local labor if the local labor unions would not "overbid" their services. This certainly is a valid argument if they can present a cost analysis documenting that...then I would certainly understand why they maybe a bit short of their promised percentage. Without that data it is hard to not to be skeptical. As usually the case, transparency would provide a better picture.
Elaine Fitzpatrick December 21, 2012 at 08:12 PM
If Tritec has hired union workers, as it says it has, why are the iron workers on the job from out of state? It makes no sense to hire union workers from out of state when there are local workers available. The wages are comparable but the out of state workers also have to be housed. Am I missing something here?
Joseph Adriano December 21, 2012 at 08:24 PM
Do you think Smokey the Mayor and his chums at Tritec corporation give a rat's rear end about local workers?
Mike Smith December 21, 2012 at 08:49 PM
Environmental Impact Statement from Tritec to Patchogue Village. The Economic Impact of the Proposed Tritec Mixed-Use Development In the Downtown Patchogue by Dr. Pearl M Kamer. http://www.patchoguevillage.org/impact%20statement/Tritech%20redevelopment/Appendix%20K.pdf Its very clear that on Page 4 of this report that Tritec represent that they would be paying high wages for this project. Paying wages of 80$ per hour to construction workers. That is about the wages those union ironworkers get with benefits. Those union ironworkers agreed to a 20% wage reduction just recently.
Mike Smith December 21, 2012 at 08:56 PM
And why did the Patchogue village remove the clickable link form their webpage? If you look there is no Appendix K but they list all the other appendixs in the impant statement. http://www.patchoguevillage.org/impactstatement.html The reason is simple, our elected village officials know that Tritec is not paying those wages as they said they would in my opinion. Its very wrong for the village to omit this information for the public. Shame on the Mayor for doing this.
Mike Smith December 21, 2012 at 08:58 PM
As someone said to Tritec this is a "bait and switch".
Mike Smith December 21, 2012 at 09:03 PM
From page 4 of Appendix K of the Impact Statement to the Village Board Job Creation During the Development Phase. The proposed mixed-use project will create jobs during the construction phase and at full occupancy. The number of jobs projected for the development phase was based on estimated development costs of $128,000,000. This figure includes land acquisition, hard and soft costs for the new construction as well as renovation of the existing Wedgewood facility. Most of the jobs created will be construction jobs or jobs related to the construction industry. Some 60% of total development costs, $76,800,000, were estimated to be labor costs. Based on these figures, the number of jobs created annually during the development phase was estimated as follows: Step 1 Average hourly compensation per construction worker, including wages, fringes, profit and overhead is estimated at $80. To derive the number of construction hours needed to complete development, estimated labor costs, $76,800,000 were divided by $80. The results show that 960,000 hours will be needed to complete development
Mike Smith December 21, 2012 at 09:21 PM
LEG. EDDINGTON: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. This is a project that's so vital in this area. I mean it's literally in the cross roads of my district really. I've met with the builders a number of times and I've talked to the Mayor. I get a sense that, you know, maybe I'm wrong, but I get a sense that they really want to do the right thing. They're committed to doing the right thing. They promised us two years ago when I met with Mr. Lindsay and them that -- -- this -- to quote someone else, this is a fluid project. So that I don't think they can give us a concrete. But I believe that they're going to do the right thing for labor and the Committee. Certainly -- you ask if we have a second bite at the apple. Well, I'm committed to standing in front of the building protesting if they don't do what they say they're going to do. That's how much I believe that they're going to do the right thing. But it's just hard for them to commit right now. But I am going to be there to make sure that they do the right thing. And if you know Paul Pontieri, he's a a pit bull. He will be on top of them, too. So I think between the two of us we can make sure that they're doing the right thing. And I would be more than willing to come back and talk to this Committee about what I'm seeing. I'll be open and honest PART of THE MINUTES ; Meeting of Labor, Workforce and Affordable Housing Committee of the Suffolk County Legislature on April 22, 2010
Mike Smith December 21, 2012 at 09:26 PM
P.O. LINDSAY: Okay. And I want to direct my remarks to you guys. I guess it was maybe two years ago, we had a meeting in a restaurant with you fellows, with the Mayor, with Mr. Castellane. And I was led to believe that this was going to help in a lot of different things including economic development; was going to put a lot of our tradesmen to work. And I was out of the room but I heard testimony that you's haven't worked out any kind of agreement yet to do this project as a union job. It's disappointing to me because I kind of feel that it was, forgive the term, bait and switch. So what happened? PART of THE MINUTES ; Meeting of Labor, Workforce and Affordable Housing Committee of the Suffolk County Legislature on April 22, 2010
Mike Smith December 21, 2012 at 09:33 PM
http://legis.suffolkcountyny.gov/clerk/cmeet/lw/2010/LW042210.pdf
Mike Smith December 21, 2012 at 09:34 PM
Link to Meeting of Labor, Workforce and Affordable Housing Committee of the Suffolk County Legislature on April 22, 2010 http://legis.suffolkcountyny.gov/clerk/cmeet/lw/2010/LW042210.pdf
jimmy murphy December 21, 2012 at 09:44 PM
I was at the community meeting………..they had a few years ago at the Moose Lodge….. and some guy with asked Tritec if local contractors would get the construction work…….and Tritec said “absolutely”……..then the guy said they would have a mutiny on their hands if they didn’t……I hope that guy is reading this…………..
Corbert December 21, 2012 at 10:41 PM
Cant wait to see Jack Eddington Protesting at the Tritec site as he said he would do. I would like to know what Pit Bull Paul Pontieri is going to do. Promises made Promises BROKEN.
Frank Finnamore December 22, 2012 at 12:24 AM
The County of Suffolk gave a One Million Dollar Grant for this project for affordable housing, that would mean that it is a prevailing wage project. If Tritec is performing any construction on Public Property it is also a prevailing wage project. The NYS Department of Labor should review this project's funding sources and if village or county owned property is being used in any manner.
Joseph Adriano December 22, 2012 at 01:17 PM
Pontieri lets these guys do whatever they want. Pitbull? Good one. More like a hound.
Terry Moore December 26, 2012 at 04:07 PM
Why would the Mayor of Patchogue knowingly come to the defense of a contractor who is in a dispute between a Local Union ? Why wouldn't that Mayor contact both parties if he/she was going to comment on the issues? At least we now understand the depth of our problems with Tritec. Shame on YOU! Terry Moore , Business Manager Local 46
Jennifer December 26, 2012 at 04:55 PM
Never thought about it Terry tell you pointed it out. Mayor is on the side of the contractor. Why is that????
Jennifer December 26, 2012 at 04:59 PM
I have also read the attached PDF's. Looks to me the Mayor and the Village Board thought Tritec was going to use all Union Labor on the Job. Mike Smith also made some great points. Patchogue 2012 will never get my vote again. Promises made, Promises broken.
Joseph Adriano December 26, 2012 at 07:17 PM
Looks like the people of Patchogue are waking up.
Patchogue Snoop December 27, 2012 at 06:47 PM
No the people of the Village are sharply divided, half the Village hates the Mayor and his antics and the other half are benificiaries of his "ole boy network" so they voted him in. Really unbelievable that there is no investigation of his antics other than a financial audit by NYS. No criminal investigation at all. The Village suffers as a result.

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