Take Action Today to Protect Union Jobs

Monday, August 20, 2018

Cornell University is one of the largest Universities in the state of New York. The University also provides training for many of New York's labor leaders through their Labor Relations program. With this long history of working with union leaders, it was disturbing to hear that Cornell has been using out of state non-union workers this summer to build new housing for the students. Of course, this housing is behind schedule, has failed to pass safety inspections, and is now being investigated by the Department of Labor. This past weekend, thousands of students will be moving in, but over 100 students will not have a dorm room to call home thanks to the use of this non-union contractor. Below, I have provided a message from the Central NY Building and Construction Trades Council asking you to sign their petition and take action on social media. I encourage everyone to take part in this action and let the leaders of Cornell know that we will not stand for this.  

Does Cornell Care?

This past weekend, as new and returning students, with nervous parents in tow, converge upon Ithaca for the start of the new school year, they will be greeted with an important question "#DoesCornellCare" and references to a website www.doescornellcare.com will be seen on white and red banners at every major roadway leading into town. Large sign trucks will be observed throughout the town displaying bright messages and asking questions about Cornell University.Facebook and Instagram are also a buzz with #DoesCornellCare.
The Tompkins-Cortland Building & Construction Trades Council is an affiliate of the Building Trades Department of the American Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO). The Council is a group of skilled construction trades unions, who's 3000+ members and families work and live throughout Central New York.
LOCAL WORKERS? Cornell University selected a Tennessee real estate firm EdR to develop the Maplewood student housing project over many local companies. It has been widely reported the Maplewood project has had its share of problems ranging from: Town of Ithaca inspection failures, OSHA fines, New York State Department of Labor investigations and multiple requests for extensions of work schedules. Building Trades Council Secretary-Treasurer, Dave Marsh questions Cornell University's decision to use the massive out of state firm (EdR): "For decades, our local contractors and skilled members have built, on time and on budget, large complex and high tech buildings throughout the Cornell campus. This Tennessee firm cannot complete the simpler residential buildings on schedule and.... as an excuse for its failure... they blame our weather."
STUDENTS? EdR was consistently behind schedule on the project. It was granted multiple requests from the Town of Ithaca Board to extend their working hours. Still, EdR failed to meet the completion deadline. As a result, over 100 students will be unable to move into Maplewood at the start of the school year.These displaced students will experience their college "campus life", from a hotel room.
COMMUNITY? While Cornell University often talks about the notion of a sustainable community, its actions to use the massive out of state real estate firm and failure to require local workers on the Maplewood project, has resulted in countless resources leaving the community.Workers' vehicles with licenses plates from over 20 different states can be seen in the employee parking lot adjacent to Rite Aid on Pine Tree Road. "The vast majority of construction workers and contractors at the Maplewood Project will get in their trucks and drive away with their earnings to such faraway places as: Texas, Kansas, Arkansas, Indiana, North Carolina, South Carolina, Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee. Cornell University really missed a golden opportunity to do so much more for our community. Local workers spend their earnings with local businesses, they invest in our community and often volunteer for civic responsibilities", adds Building Trades Council's Dave Marsh.
The Tompkins-Cortland Building & Construction Trades Council is asking the community to consider Cornell University's actions on the Maplewood Redevelopment Project. Why did Cornell tolerate the inspection failures or safety fines on Maplewood?Are all the students, especially the 100+ living in hotels, best served by its decision?Why did Cornell allow EdR to use out of town workers instead of mandating skilled local construction workers, local contractors, and local vendors?
Will Cornell make the same mistakes with its upcoming larger projects referred to as the North Campus Residential and East Hill Village Complexes?
Building Trades Council President Todd Bruer, maintains: "We will relentlessly ask the question #DoesCornellCare for as long as it takes until Cornell University truly and honestly commits to a sustainable community for Ithaca."

Sign the petition

Share with your friends - social media - #DoesCornellCare