The Chronicle reports that the Building Trades Council, a group of representatives from construction labor unions, has submitted a resolution to the Planning Commission opposing the large rental development planned for Bryant Street. The developer of the project, Nick Podell, has already begun striking compromises with various local opponents of the project, such as the arts organization Inner Mission (formerly CELLspace).
The Trade Council’s opposition stems in part from Podell’s hesitation to commit to entirely unionized labor on the project, but also appears to be connected to community sentiments about housing — in its opposition letter, the council called the Bryant Street project “inadequately affordable and exploitative housing.”
Podell, for his part, said committing to entirely unionized labor would make it difficult to ensure that the housing would remain rental.
“We do hope to use union labor for this project, but given land costs, the subsidies necessary to provide affordable housing and skyrocketing construction costs, some trades may not be included because of their extraordinary price differential,” he told the Chronicle.
Michael Theriault, secretary-treasurer for the Council, said he couldn’t remember the last time the union group had done anything like this. The Trades Council has also declined to take a position on several other projects in the city that it would historically support.
The move may be part of what Joshua Arce, a civil rights attorney and community liaison for Laborers Local 261, called a “community-labor alliance” that could influence local developments’ affordability, hiring practices, and environmental impacts.
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