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Bedford-Union Armory Developers Reach Labor Deal With Service-Workers Union

 A rendering of the Bedford-Union Armory redevelopment shows the building with added apartments and condominiums. The project would also create a 35,000-square-foot recreation center inside the building's domed former drill hall.
A rendering of the Bedford-Union Armory redevelopment shows the building with added apartments and condominiums. The project would also create a 35,000-square-foot recreation center inside the building's domed former drill hall.
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Bedford Courts LLC

CROWN HEIGHTS — Building workers at the proposed redeveloped Bedford-Union Armory will be unionized when the complex is rebuilt — but labor used for the construction of the project is still up in the air.

Nationwide service-workers union 32BJ SEIU has come to an agreement with the building’s developer, BFC Partners, that will provide union jobs to workers in the complex at the “family sustaining building service worker prevailing wage,” a statement from BFC read.

However, the total number of jobs under the 32BJ partnership has not finalized, a BFC spokesman said.

It’s also unclear whether the 542,000-square-foot redevelopment of the former Crown Heights military facility will be done with union labor. Construction workers have protested at the site in recent months to push BFC to use unionized builders.

On Monday, BFC couldn’t comment on that point, a spokesman said.

In addition to providing unionized jobs, the agreement with 32BJ will include a program run by the union and BFC to train local residents to become doormen, porters, janitors, security officers and other service-worker jobs.

“Our shared commitment to revitalize the Bedford-Union Armory will bring family-sustaining jobs to Crown Heights and empower hardworking families,” said Kyle Bragg, secretary-treasurer of 32BJ SEIU, in a statement provided by BFC.

BFC hopes to convert the 1903 building at Bedford Avenue and Union Street into a recreation center and office space, as well as building 56 market-rate condominiums and 330 apartments, half of which will be affordable.

The project has faced strong opposition from residents, most recently at a scoping hearing where attendees told city officials to “kill the deal.” Since its announcement in late 2015, the redevelopment has faced several setbacks, including one of its developers dropping out of the project amid pressure from activists.

The armory plan is not yet finalized and needs approval from the mayor and City Council to move forward.

The labor announcement comes as City Council candidate Ede Fox, surrounded by union workers outside of the armory, officially announced her campaign against local Councilwoman Laurie Cumbo on Monday.

At the rally — attended by members of Mason Tenders District Council, Ironworkers Local 46, District Council 9 and NYS Laborers — Fox railed against BFC for not yet committing to using unionized construction workers on the project and promised that she would vote no on the redevelopment project if elected to office.