For Immediate Release Contact: Andrew Moesel
April 28, 2009 212-725-2378(w); 347-852-3140(m)
New York, NY – International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 237 President Gregory Floyd on Monday hailed the allocation of $423 million in federal stimulus money to dozens of desperately needed upgrades and repairs to New York’s public housing system. Reacting to the official selection of projects benefiting from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), Floyd said the funding “represents the culmination of all our hard work to improve the quality of life for NYCHA employees and residents.”
“An investment in our public housing, the largest public housing in the nation, is an investment in the hard working people of this city,” said Floyd. “Before, during and after the passage of the stimulus bill, we have fought for our fair share of federal funding. I am excited that stimulus dollars will soon be used to make concrete improvements that will help enhance the living conditions and well being of the over 400,000 people in NYCHA.”
The ARRA money will help fund 70 “shovel-ready” projects throughout the NYCHA system, increasing its 5-year capital plan to over $2 billion. These projects range from repairing rooftops to renovating thousands of rooms in some developments and will create over 3,200 jobs. Of particular importance to Local 237, which represents NYCHA elevator mechanics, $70 million has been earmarked to repair or upgrade 145 elevators in 11 developments.
“Replacing the old and dilapidated elevators will allow our engineers to better serve the residents of NYCHA and make their lives easier. said Floyd.
Local 237, the largest union representing NYCHA workers, played a critical role in alerting lawmakers and the public about the dire state of much public housing. On May Day last year, the union hosted a rally for public housing at City Hall that drew 10,000 people from New York, Boston, Philadelphia and other cities. Local 237 followed the event with radio ads during the MLB All-Star game at Yankee Stadium calling for federal aid to help repair public housing infrastructure, an effort that reached over 2 million listeners. Finally, in the fall, Local 237 drafted a letter and created a video detailing the desperate need for repairs in public housing, sending them to every city, state and federal elected official in the region.
While Floyd praised the success of these efforts in helping to secure money for capital projects, he also urged the need to continue working to increased federal operational funding. In the past 10 years, NYHCA’s federal funding has been cut by millions, leading to the loss of 4,000 workers.
“For too long, our public housing system has been shortchanged. We not only need to fix the buildings, we need to repair the broken attitude that those in public housing do not deserve the quality services they need,” Floyd said.
“We have fought hard in the halls of Washington and on the Streets of New York, and we will continue to fight for the people who live in NYCHA until they get what they deserve,” Floyd added.
For several years, Floyd has been deeply involved in the fight to improve public housing. On June 12, 2007 he led a City Hall protest against proposed layoffs by NYCHA. He also lobbied fiercely for passage of a bill, signed in the summer of 2007 by then-Gov. Spitzer, which increased the shelter allowance the state provides public housing authorities serving families on public assistance. With this expertise, he has testified before the City Council's Subcommittee on Public Housing to request additional funding for NYCHA and has participated in several symposium’s on the issue.