Monday's City Hall Rally Recap

Emotion filled the steps of city hall Monday afternoon as union leaders and members joined City Council Members to speak out against the proposed ‘Bronx Mall’. Local 1500 president Bruce Both spoke on how Big Box stores in the Bronx will destroy local stores as well as the community. NY1 wrote an interesting recap of the rally…

Labor Groups Rally Against Big Box Stores In New Bronx Mall

January 23, 2006

Labor advocates gathered on the steps of City Hall Monday to make sure that the people who live in the area near the Bronx Terminal Market are not shut out of its redevelopment.

The Related Companies is planning to build a shopping center called the Gateway Center on the waterfront property on the Harlem River near the market.

However, members of several labor unions including the New York City Central Labor Council say the Gateway Center Mall should not include big box stores such as BJ’s or Wal-Mart. They say the stores don’t belong there because of their history of poor labor relations.

“We will not allow Related to aid and abet Wal-Mart and BJ’s attempt to avoid the proper scrutiny they deserve from their anti-community and anti-worker practices,” said RWDSU President Stuart Appelbaum. “We oppose this deception, and we urge the City Council to say no to these bad neighbors.”

Advocates want the developer to relocate the current tenants of the market, and to use union labor during construction.

They are also accusing the big box stores of locking out the poorest of consumers by not accepting food stamps or WIC.

The Related Companies say protesters are getting in the way of progress, saying in a statement: “By creating more than 5,000 construction and permanent jobs in a community with high unemployment, it’s clear that the creation of the Gateway Center is a vital component of the revitalization of the Bronx.”