“Certainly, the politics were part of the issue,” David Thyer, president of Seattle-based R.C. Hedreen & Co.
(story based on article in Puget Sound Business Journal) The fight is over the right to form a union. In addition to the 160 low income housing units, there would have been new public space around the hotel. The one person units would have rented to tenants with $46,100 or less a year. Apartments for two-person households would have been $52,650. A key sticking point between the two sides is whether Hedreen would agree, in advance, to make it easier for hotel workers to unionize.
Thyer says agreeing to demands by Unite Here Local 8 would be selling out future employees who may not want to join the union.
The union says it is not just concerned about union jobs, but about traffic and other project impacts. The union has also argued that the developer got a sweetheart deal from the city by underpaying a fee required for displacing existing low income housing.
Thyer isn’t buying the union’s claim to being selfless , He says the union is looking to increase its membership, not to have the best project built.
The City Council has to OK the project. Three City Councilmembers – Nick Licata, Kshama Sawant and Mike O’Brien – are union allies, who could block the larger project. READ THE FULL STORY