WHAT: Public meeting at West Orange High School to protest the township’s decision to create the Essex Green Executive Drive Redevelopment Area.
WHEN: Wednesday, April 25, 2018. 7PM to 9PM
WHERE: West Orange High School (51 Conforti Ave., West Orange, NJ 07052)
WHO: Members of 32BJ SEIU will speak and be joined by Kevin Brown, 32BJ Vice President and New Jersey State Director
Newark, N.J. – Members of 32BJ will attend the public meeting at West Orange High School on Wednesday to protest taxpayer dollars being spent to help redevelop the Essex Green Executive Drive Redevelopment Area giving unnecessary tax cuts to a wealthy company at the expense of township residents.
The owners of Executive Drive, the North Haledon-based PAG Investments and its partner entities, purchased Essex Green last year and currently manage a portfolio with an estimated value of $130 million. Together, the properties currently generate $4.5 million in annual tax revenue, money that West Orange residents should benefit from. The company also has resisted providing good, union jobs with family-sustaining wages to local residents.
Last year, PAG Investments replaced union cleaning contractor ABM, with Planned Building Services (PBS), at Executive Drive, part of the redevelopment proposal. PBS then slashed office cleaners’ wages by 60%, and eliminated meaningful benefits.
Despite the treatment of local employees and the town’s pressing need for tax income, in January, West Orange lawmakers voted in favor of creating the Essex Green Executive Drive Redevelopment Area, opening the door to tax abatements that would cost township taxpayers millions at the expense of wealthy commercial property owners.
“If the existing space is converted to mixed-use residential, the additional residents would increase the strain on education, sanitation, police and fire resources without increases in tax revenue for my town,” said Flor Zuñiga, a West Orange resident and 32BJ member for several years. “Over 100 of our members are also West Orange residents. They work hard to support their families and increasing their tax burdens in order to cut taxes for billionaire developers is unjust.”
With 163,000 members in eleven states and Washington, D.C., including over 12,000 in New Jersey, 32BJ SEIU is the largest property service workers union in the country.