Builders 'Rally For Jobs' In White Plains

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More than 80 union building tradesmen and women marched in front of the Westchester County Office Building in White Plains Monday to protest what union officials are calling political foot-dragging by Yonkers and Westchester County officials. Photo Credit: whiteplainsdv
More than 80 union building tradesmen and women marched in front of the Westchester County Office Building in White Plains Monday to protest what union officials are calling political foot-dragging by Yonkers and Westchester County officials.
More than 80 union building tradesmen and women marched in front of the Westchester County Office Building in White Plains Monday to protest what union officials are calling political foot-dragging by Yonkers and Westchester County officials. Photo Credit: Brian Donnelly

YONKERS, N.Y. – More than 80 building union members rallied for jobs Monday, hoping to push along a Yonkers development project they said could bring work for hundreds of tradesmen and women.

The group, members of the Building & Construction Trades Council of Westchester & Putnam Counties Inc., marched outside the Westchester County Office Building in White Plains in an afternoon protest that was targeted toward a proposed, large-scale project on Austin Avenue.

The $115 million plan by Morris Industrial Builders of Rutherford, N.J., would transform a lot on Austin Avenue and Prior Place into three large retail stores, which are said to be a Target, Dick’s Sporting Goods and Marshall’s, as well as a 400-unit residential building.

The project, if pursued, would add hundreds of new permanent jobs and create much-needed construction work, union leaders said.

Before the project can move forward, however, the Westchester County Industrial Development Agency must approve the transfer and use of a 3-acre parcel for parking at the Target site.  But public officials have stalled the project and refused to take up the matter, building industry officials said.

In response, the union helped organized the rally, hoping to push the Westchester County IDA to make a decision.

Paul Ryan, assistant business manager for Local Union No. 3, international brotherhood of electrical workers, said that there is 41 percent unemployment among the building trade unions in Westchester County.

He said that high number is what got his particular union involved in this issue and helped organize the rally.

Joe Duffy, a Local Union No. 3 electrician who lives in Dobbs Ferry, agreed it was time to get to work.

"We need work. We have massive unemployment in the building trade,” he said.  "We've been sitting around idly long enough. It's time to make some noise."

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