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Buffalo Building Trades Picket Out-Of-Town Contractor At Canterbury Woods Project, Allege Rochester Company Has ‘Failed To Hire Any’ Minorities, Women Or Apprentices On Old Millard Fillmore Hospital Worksite

Published Sunday, July 3, 2016
by WNYLaborToday.com Staff

(BUFFALO) – The Member Unions of the Buffalo Building & Construction Trades Council have started picketing the Canterbury Woods Construction Project in Buffalo, telling WNYLaborToday.com that an out-of-town contractor – identified as LECESSEE Construction of Rochester, is failing to hire any minorities, women and apprentices on the project.

The $150 million Canterbury Woods Project is being built on the site of what was the former Millard Fillmore Gates Hospital, land that is being redeveloped into what is being described as a “mixed-use urban district” with more than 500 residential apartments, condominiums, townhouses, a grocery store, a fitness center, office space and ground-floor retail shops.  In addition, a separate 53-unit independent-living facility will anchor the overall project.

Buffalo Building Trades President Paul Brown told Your On-Line Labor Newspaper late last week after the Trades kicked off what he termed as a “picket line that will be up for as long as it takes” – that LECESSEE has hired “no’ minorities, women or apprentices on the project.

While roughly a third of the Construction Workers employed on the project are Union, including the project’s “lone” minority Worker, Brown underscored the fact that the project is receiving financial assistance from both the City of Buffalo and Erie County, which both push to maintain local hiring and minority hiring levels. 

“(The Building Trades Unions) get ‘criticized’ (by the African-American Community on construction projects they feel do not have or do not have enough Minority Workers employed) and here we have a project (in the African-American Community) that has ‘no’ Minority Worker employed there other than our Union-represented Member,” he said.

Late last week the picket line increased to more than 50 as the Coalition for Economic Justice (CEJ) and Buffalo AFL-CIO Central Labor Council President John Mudie joined Building Trades representatives out in front of the project (see photo below/Courtesy of the CEJ).

However, it does appear the public action is bringing about some reaction from those running the Canterbury Woods project.  Brown told WNYLaborToday.com the Trades “were starting to see some movement” in regards to scheduling a meeting on the issue.  He added a meeting could come as early as this week, after the July 4th holiday, which may work to resolve the issue.

Gates Circle, which is seen a key connection point in the City of Buffalo, is part of the historic Delaware Park-Front Park system that was designed by the legendary Frederick Law Olmsted and is located in close proximity to vibrant commercial districts and cultural amenities.  The current redevelopment project will complement the Olmsted Park System and bring together residents from adjacent neighborhoods, the city-at-large, and the broader community, according to information posted on the project’s web site (www.gatescirclebuffalo.com)   

According to its web site (www.lecesseconstruction.com), LECESSE Construction is a construction management firm with offices and affiliates in: Rochester and Albany, New York; Orlando, Florida; Charlotte, North Carolina; Cleveland, Ohio; Lancaster, Pennsylvania; and Richmond, Virginia.

Interestingly enough, the company also posted the following on its web site: We continue to set the standard for quality, professionalism, and innovation as a trusted consultant to create value and provide productive solutions to our clients.  Understanding today’s business climate allows us to combine our professional skills, diversity, and relentless pursuit of excellence to meet and exceed our clients’ expectations.

The Buffalo Building & Construction Trades Council is comprised of the following Member Unions: Boilermakers Local 7 of Orchard Park; Bricklayers Local 3 of Buffalo; Carpenters Local 276 of Cheektowaga; Cement Masons Local 111 of North Tonawanda; Electricians Local 41 of Orchard Park; Elevator Constructors Local 14 of Cheektowaga; Heat & Frost Insulators Local 4 of West Seneca; Ironworkers Local 6 of West Seneca; Laborers Local 210 of Cheektowaga; Millwrights Local 1163 of Western New York; Operating Engineers Local 17 of Hamburg; Painters District Council 4 of Cheektowaga; Plasterers Local 9 of North Tonawanda; U.A. Plumbers & Steamfitters Local 22 of Orchard Park; Roofers Local 74 of Cheektowaga; Sheet Metal Workers Local 71 of Buffalo; U.A. Road Sprinklerfitters Local 669 of Buffalo; and Teamsters Local 449 of Buffalo.

 

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