Monday, April 30, 2012

How many full-time jobs at the Barclays Center? Not 150-200, as announced four days ago, but just 105, as explained in Community Board presentation

At the April 26 press conference on a promised 2000 jobs at the Barclays Center, officials said that 150-200 of the jobs would be full-time.

In fact, the New York Daily News reported that "some 90%" would be part-time, indicating approximately 200 full-time jobs, and the New York Post reported 200 full-time jobs.

Actually, according to a presentation prepared by Forest City Ratner and delivered tonight to a committee of Community Board 6, the company estimates only 105 full-time jobs, plus 1901 part-time jobs.

Even if the numbers are approximate, that's a dramatic difference.

Some of the CB members were cordially inquisitive during the lightly attended meeting, given the board's experience with promises from Ikea. But nobody brought up the discrepancy between the numbers in the presentation and the numbers mentioned last week.

Update

Bruce Ratner said at the press conference: "About 90 percent, up to 1800, 1900 are part-time" jobs, with schedules "up to 30 hours a week," and "the remainder, 150 to 200, are full-time." He didn't say 105.

Beginning of a process

The main goal of the meeting, with a presentation led by FCR's approachable Ashley Cotton, was to explain how the job recruitment process will work, involving outreach, job fairs, and interviews. Similar meetings will be held this week at other community boards in the area around the arena, as the hiring will focus in the areas of CBs 2, 3, 6, and 8.

The meeting tonight was held at the Prospect Park Residence. On Tuesday, a similar presentation will be made before a Community Board 2 committee, at Long Island University, Library Learning Center Room 515, DeKalb and Hudson Avenues, at 6 pm.

Cotton, a former Bloomberg administration aide, is the successor to Bruce Bender, the wily political operative who helped steer the project over several shoals but ran into rough waters. He was wiretapped during a profane attempt to get state Sen. Carl Kruger, since convicted of taking bribes, to direct money to Atlantic Yards, and left the company shortly before he testified in a federal corruption trial regarding the developer's unseemly, though not illegal, decision to hire Yonkers fixer Zehy Jereis for a no-show job after he helped get Council Member Sandy Annabi to change her vote.

Drilling down

Forest City Ratner Companies and its Brooklyn Events Center subsidiary would have a tiny fraction of the jobs. Some 1000 part-timers would be hired by AEG, in charge of arena operations, and 900 hired by Levy Restaurants, in charge of food service.

None of the part-time positions would come with vacation benefits or health benefits, though they could come with other benefits to be negotiated after a union is formed.

Based on comments at the press confrerence last week, the salaries are expected to be above living wage--$11.50 without benefits--though, as noted by Patch, this project would not be included in any living wage legislation.

However, officials from Forest City, Levy, and AEG were not ready to make any estimates beyond "above minimum wage" and "competitive" to venues like Madison Square Garden and Yankee Stadium, saying it would be subject to collective bargaining, since employees are expected to be unionized.

P/T = 24 hours per week?

The maximum number of workers at any one time is likely to be about 800, while smaller events could have only 500 workers.

If the total number of jobs is equivalent to 1,240 full-time equivalent jobs, as stated last week, then that means a total of 49,600 hours a week and 2,579,200 hours for the year.

Let's subtract the full-time jobs: 105 x 40 x 52, or 210,000 annually. That leaves 2,360,800 hours to be divided among the 1901 part-time employees over 52 weeks. That suggests a total of 45,400 hours per week, or 23.9 hours per person.

Forest City will report quarterly, on its website, on its hiring, in terms of local hiring and hiring from housing projects. However, the developer has never hired the Independent Compliance Monitor promised as part of the Community Benefits Agreement.

Leading off



After the introductions of the various staffers present, Cotton talked about the MWBE (minority and women's business enterprises) contract, with 16.3% MBE and 6.3% WBE. That was not segmented into New York City or Brooklyn firms.



In the week ending April 15, of the total construction workforce of 836, 442 were New York City residents, of which 186 were Brooklyn residents.

How does that break down into FTE (full-time equivalent)? Cotton didn't have details. As I wrote in January, the total number of FTE jobs is probably some 25% lower.



The hiring process will go through the Small Business Services' Workforce1 hiring program, as well through the New York City Housing Authority, and with the participation of Community Benefits Agreement partner Brooklyn United for Innovative Local Development (BUILD).

There's a five-stage process:
  • jobs will be posted online at BarclaysCenter.com (though the bulk of the jobs aren't posted yet)
  • jobs fairs will be open to the public
  • written applications
  • interviews
  • employment offers continent on background check and drug test.
CB6 member Richard Bashner, citing the Ikea example, asked if job fairs could be moved up before jobs are posted. Cotton responded that all the workforce preparation, via SBS, makes sure people come job-ready.

Board member Pauline Blake asked about outreach plans. That, responded Cotton, was what they were beginning today. Job fairs will be held mostly in July, and candidates should expect to stay for a while, and should come in job-appropriate apparel.

More questions

Would people with criminal records be hired?

"We weigh each case separately," said AEG's David Anderson, who noted that the firm does background checks.

Will alcoholic beverages be served with "free pours" or "measured pours," asked board member Lou Sones, who runs The Brazen Head.

"Always a metered pour," responded Julie Margolin of Levy Restaurants. "[Free pouring] is a terminable offense."

Will the job recruiters reach out to housing projects like the Red Hook Houses, which was not among the specific mentioned New York City Housing Authority developments, including the Gowanus Houses and the Ingersoll and Whitman Houses?

"The list was determined through the CBA [Community Benefits Agreement]," responded Cotton, who noted that there's a preference for not just residents of the local Community Boards but for public housing residents as well as Brooklynites.

Followed up Bashner, "The Community Board wasn't a party to the CBA.  We're looking at it independently." He encouraged Forest City to extend outreach to the Red Hook Houses, which are part of CB6.

Cotton said she'd take back the questions and suggestions from the meeting and build on them as the process continues.

Update: the PowerPoint document

Barclays Center Hiring Plan 5-10-12

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