By Al Barbarino
The Connecticut Laborers’ District Council has launched an “organizing campaign action” against the developer of the Harbor Point real estate project – Norwalk, Connecticut-based Building and Land Technology – and out-of-state subcontractor Baker Concrete.
The group plans to protest in front of the main construction entrance at the Harbor Point project starting on May 15 and continuing on a weekly basis until Carl and Paul Kuehner, heads of Building and Land Technology, “start hiring Connecticut companies and Connecticut workers” for the project, according to Charles LeConche, business manager of the District Council.
“Since Building and Land Technology, Inc. has taken over the Harbor Point project, Connecticut contractors and workers have become second-class citizens,” LeConche said in a statement. “That is why today we announcing the beginning of a major push to organize every contractor on the jobsite – and we will be starting with Baker Concrete, based in Monroe, Ohio.”
Harbor Point is a sprawling development complex that will feature one million square feet of commercial space, with hotels, retailers, restaurants and a full-service marina. It will feature five distinct neighborhoods, with 4,000 new residences between three housing complexes.
According to the Connecticut Laborers’ District Council, in February 2012, eight out-of-state contractors working at a Harbor Point construction site were cited by the Connecticut Department of Labor for wage violations. Critics of the developer’s actions say not enough jobs are being sourced locally.
“Revitalizing the South End of Stamford with new development and jobs should be a step to celebrate,” said U.S. Congressman Jim Himes in a statement. “That celebration, however, could be louder if this progress were enjoyed by more local jobs, and I join you today to support the community in asking that more of those good jobs go to the people of Connecticut. By hiring more qualified, local workers at good wages, BLT can demonstrate it wants to invest in local business and the people of Connecticut. I encourage BLT to change its contracting and hiring practices to support more people and businesses in Connecticut.”
At a press conference earlier this month the District Council and 50 construction workers gathered in front of the Building and Land Technology, Inc. headquarters, which is also in front of the Harbor Point development project, according to a statement.
“We also would like to commend members of the Stamford Zoning Board who are refusing to be rubber stamps for whatever the Kuehner Brothers and Building and Land Technology want to do,” LeConche said at the press conference. “Instead, they have postponed project votes until proper plans and promises formerly made by Building and Land Technology are delivered.”
Ted Ferrarone, COO of Harbor Point, declined to comment for this story.