Liberal Infighting in Boston over Development

Boston construction unions are fighting back against anti-development community activists (probably Midwest Academy protégés). Yes, that’s right: liberal infighting. Unions say that too many projects remain on the drawing boards or have evaporated. They worry that fierce neighborhood activism may be scaring away developers. The Boston Building Trades Council which is coalition of the Laborers, Ironworkers, Electrical Workers and other unions are making development an election issue.

Many elected officials represent anti-development views. But construction workers, representing a huge voting constituency, don’t want to apply the brakes or make life complicated for developers. Mayor Thomas M. Menino demands checks on rampant development. “I don’t think any developer has been scared away YET,” (emphasis added) he said.

For example, a new Fenway Park would be “nirvana” for the unions. But many Fenway residents remain adamantly opposed to a new stadium in their neighborhood, and candidates running for the City Council seat there have
already embraced the residents’ cause. [Boston Globe 7/22/99]

“Union-only deals (on public and private jobs) are signed by owners because labor unions threaten ‘pickets, job stoppages and labor unrest’ to secure the entire job. That’s great if you’re a union member but it’s discrimination against four out of every five construction workers who choose not to belong to organized labor.”

– Stephen L. Stone of the Wis. Associated Builders & Contractors disputing a Laborers Union boss’ assertion that labor agreements that require union labor don’t discriminate. [Capital Times 7/22/99]