“I work full time, and I still can’t afford to support my family,” said Michael Greene, a concierge who has worked at The Addison at 236 Livingston Street for two years. “We don’t go to the doctor when we’re sick because we don’t have health insurance.”
Addison employees and their union, 32BJ SEIU, argue that since the building receives a 421-a property tax exemption, it should be paying employees prevailing union wages, which is about $22 an hour plus benefits.
The union estimates The Addison will save nearly $42.6 million through the abatement.
“The Addison is receiving million of dollars in taxpayer money,” said 32BJ secretary Kyle Bragg. “We need to hold building owners accountable for the promises they make to the city and to their workers.”
Employees did receive a pay increase to $17 an hour last Friday, just three days before the protest.
The union has collected more than 180 signatures, including some from tenants, on a petition delivered to building management calling for higher wages.
According to the union, close to half of the 57 buildings that are part of the 421-a program do not pay prevailing union wages. In June, protests were held outside two other similar developments, the L Haus in Long Island City and the Arias apartments in Park Slope.