It is nearly seven years to the day of when FreshDirect fired 85
immigrant workers and over a hundred fled just days before Christmas in 2007 following an immigration raid on the eve of a Teamster union vote of the employees. The company was alleged to have tipped off immigration authorities.
While FreshDirect is courting support from Bronx representatives (and will be sponsoring the Christmas parties of several State
representatives from outside the district later in the week), City,
State and federal elected representatives from within the district
remain opposed to the project. U.S. Congressman José E. Serrano, State Senator José M. Serrano, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and City Council Member Maria del Carmen Arroyo have all called for a moratorium on all new development on the state-owned stretch of waterfront land, including with respect to FreshDirect, until a thorough analysis of the current uses and the disproportionate impact on the health of the community could be thoroughly studied and mitigated.
Mayor de Blasio, who campaigned on promises to stop the FreshDirect deal and end the tale of two cities, has not yet affirmed this stance since taking office despite more than 400 phone calls and emails to his office by the community to stop the project.
seeking over $140 million in taxpayer subsidies for a highly controversial project that would subject South Bronx residents to the pollution, noise, and traffic of over a thousand additional diesel truck trips every day. The project would have devastating environmental and health impacts on a neighborhood where
one in four children already has asthma. The State subsidies would carry no mandate to create jobs. FreshDirect has thus far avoided local living wage requirements and posted openings that pay as little as $8.00 per hour. Monday’s hearing in the South Bronx is the
first local public hearing on the proposed subsidy package in the three years the community has been fighting against the deal, with litigation against the project ongoing. Last December, Fresh
Direct was forced to withdraw a $3.5 million Empowerment Zone (EZ) subsidy application when it became clear that the EZ Board of Directors , under the leadership of local Congressman Jose E. Serrano, would reject it. In 2013, Mayor de Blasio campaigned heavily against the City subsidy while running for office but has not yet taken a decisive move since entering office.
with labor unions, faith leaders and medical professionals in opposition to the allocation of taxpayer money to subsidize FreshDirect and the 1,000 diesel trucks it would bring through our community every day. The fact that FreshDirect and the City have
attempted to push through this proposal by relying on a 21 year old
environmental impact study is a particular slap in the face when 1 in 4 of our children has asthma. We were particularly
disappointed to learn that a few State representatives who don’t even represent our district are advocating for this diesel project to be cited in our community. We remain confident that this
community will prevail and that we will stop FreshDirect.” –Mychal Johnson, Co-founder, South Bronx Unite; Board of Directors, Bronx Council for Environmental Quality
living locally have submitted testimony against the subsidies for FreshDirect. As a resident, physician and parent of a child with specials needs, I have seen firsthand the well-documented harms
diesel truck emissions have on vulnerable communities and individuals, such as children and the elderly. This subsidy
package would allow FreshDirect to bring upwards of 1,000 diesel truck trips through my neighborhood every day and expose us to heightened levels of pollutants linked to cognitive and mental delays in our children as well as respiratory and cardiovascular disease.”
–Dr. Melissa Barber, Resident
more important than anything else FreshDirect can offer. There is no trade-off. We as faith leaders have stood, and will continue to stand together with South Bronx Unite until the powers that be fully understand what’s at stake.” –Rev. Que English, Co-founder Bronx
accountable for our actions. Today we stand with the South Bronx community as stewards of the earth God has given us to live in and to raise our children with. I have to denounce any action on the part of FreshDirect that will poison the only air our children have to breathe.” Minister Danny Diaz, Executive Board Member of the National Latino Evangelical Coalition, Justice Fellow
Latino Pastoral Action Fellow, Micah Justice Fellow New York Theological Seminary
two things we have plenty of already. The company has rejected calls to pay a living wage and is not required to create a single job to get this massive subsidy. We know how to create strong industries that breed prosperity, and this isn’t it. Community members are standing up and the Teamsters are standing with them.” – Dan Kane, President, Teamsters Local 202
their workers, many earning just $8.25 per hour, make wages that guarantee they will either have to find additional jobs to survive or require them to get additional subsidies for housing and food.” – Lily Kesselman Dunn, Director, South Bronx Farmers Market
It is vehemently opposed by residents and community-based organizations in these neighborhoods and is unsupported by the elected officials that represent them. For these reasons, Empire State Development should reject FreshDirect’s subsidy application.” –Gavin Kearney, Director, Environmental Justice, New York Lawyers for the Public Interest
environment, social justice, transportation and food sovereignty. It leaves food on the doorsteps of the privileged and nothing but noise and fumes for those who lack access to healthy food.” –Tom Angotti, Professor of Urban Affairs and Planning, Hunter College, Graduate Center, City University of New York; Director, Hunter College Center for Community Planning & Development
Leaders, and Health Professionals to Testify at Public Hearing in
Opposition to Subsidies for Proposed FreshDirect Relocation to the South BronxRelocation Would Have Devastating Environmental and Health Impacts on Local Community
Monday, November 17, 2014 at 4:30 pm
What | Community advocates, clergy, health professionals and labor leaders will rally prior to giving testimony opposing a proposed $10 million FreshDirect subsidy package from the Empire State Development Corporation. In total, FreshDirect is seeking
over $140 million in taxpayer subsidies for a highly controversial
project that would subject South Bronx residents to the pollution,
noise, and traffic of over a thousand diesel truck trips every day. The
project would have devastating environmental and health impacts on a neighborhood where one in four children already has asthma. The State subsidies would carry no mandate to create jobs. FreshDirect has thus far avoided local living wage requirements and posted openings that pay as little as $8.00 per hour. Monday’s hearing in the South Bronx is the first local public hearing on the proposed subsidy package and high turnout is expected.
When | Monday, November 17, 2014, 4:30 pm Press Conference, 5:00-9:00 pm Public Hearing
Where | Hostos Community College, 450 Grand Concourse, Bronx, NY 10451
Who | Press Conference Speakers (in formation):
South Bronx Unite
Bronx Clergy Roundtable
Teamsters Local 202
New York Lawyers for the Public Interest (NYLPI)
Land Use Experts
(1) ATTEND THE HEARING – CLICK HERE
package for FreshDirect because the project: (1) runs counter to the needs, desires and well-established development plans of the local community (with multiple residential rezonings and State open space proposed prioritization of the Mott Haven-Port Morris Waterfront Plan), (2) would have devastating environmental and health impacts on a community where one in four children has
asthma (as the company would bring upwards of 1,000 diesel truck trips through the neighborhood every day), (3) has no requirement to pay its workers a living wage (including for the more than half of its workforce that is not unionized), nor add any jobs despite promises made to the public, (4) violates the constitutional requirement that the state-owned land on which it is proposed to
be sited provide a public benefit and reduce truck traffic, (5) is inconsistent with efforts to protect the South Bronx waterfront flood zone in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, and (6) runs contrary to fair business practices – no analysis has been made of its impact on existing brick-and-mortar grocers nor on new entrants to the grocery delivery market; there is also no cost-benefit analysis
regarding the potential loss of jobs of Queens residents, nor on the ability of FreshDirect to stay and expand in its already-subsidized Queens location, which it disclosed would be the most economical option.
WE ARE WINNING, BUT WE NEED EVERYONE TO CROSS THE FINISH LINE!
I. Legal Updates – The ongoing litigation to stop Fresh Direct’s move to the Harlem River Yards continues! Newly disclosed information provides us with the opportunity to request renewal of our claim that the State DOT violated the New York Constitution by allowing land at the Harlem River Yard to be leased to Fresh Direct. We’ll keep you posted!
II. Mott Haven-Port Morris Waterfront Plan – Our community’s plan for the waterfront – which does not include FreshDirect’s diesel truck warehouse – has received overwhelming support from City and State agencies, Speaker Mark-Viverito and more than 200 residents and organizations. If you have not already done so, please submit your comments today in support of the plan – LINK HERE.
IV. Harder for Mayor de Blasio to Give $140M to One Company in a Market Flooded with Alternatives? – This proposed subsidy has long been fought by New York grocers who see significant unfair advantage being given to one company. Now the market is being flooded with additional alternative delivery providers.
PUBLIC COMMENTS ARE NOW BEING ACCEPTED NOW THROUGH DECEMBER 17
The Mott Haven-Port Morris Waterfront Plan was voted by overwhelming majority for inclusion on the draft list
of priority projects of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Open Space Plan! Never before has our community had a priority project in the plan! The Open Space Plan serves as a blueprint for the state’s land conservation efforts, identifying priority open space projects for protection and guiding State Environmental Protection Fund investments. From now through December 17th, the public is being asked to provide comments on the plan via email (see below for draft text). On October 22, a public hearing will also be held from 2:30-4:30 and from 7:00-9:00 at 47-40 21st Street, Long Island City. After the public comment period is closed, DEC will review all comments on the proposed plan and issue a final plan of priority projects.
|A: Bronx Kill Waterfront Park – site
of Native American settlement and burial ground; last significant open green space on the Mott Haven-Port Morris waterfront; lines the Bronx Kill waterway; directly connects to the “Randall’s Island Connector”
|B: Park Avenue Boat Launch and Waterfront Park – already
green space; one of the few areas with actual water access not blocked
by Oak Point Link rail; already being used as an ad hoc fishing and boat
|D: Alexander Avenue Extension of Lincoln Avenue Waterfront Park – easily
accessible by pedestrians; vacant and unused site; community blocked by
fence and guard; directly connected to Mott Haven antique district
WE NEED YOUR HELP TO MAKE THIS PERMANENT!
(1) REGISTER FOR THE PUBLIC HEARING HERE
(2) SEND YOUR COMMENTS VIA EMAIL BY PASTING THE BELOW DRAFT TEXT INTO AN EMAIL MESSAGE
SUBJECT: I support the Mott Haven-Port Morris Waterfront Plan as a Priority Project for Region 2!
MESSAGE (draft): To Whom It May Concern:
I support inclusion of the Mott Haven-Port Morris Waterfront Plan as a priority project for the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Open Space Plan. This community-developed plan would provide underserved residents access to a public waterfront that, for decades, has been inaccessible. The plan is consistent with three rezonings on adjacent land, provides a logical solution to climate change effects on significant maritime industrial areas (SMIAs) and gives the community open space to counteract severe health consequences caused by an oversaturation of highways and truck-intensive businesses
in the South Bronx. These vacant coastal sites are located within a
flood zone, and if properly designated as protected open space, could significantly mitigate dangerous effects on the community of storm surge flooding of existing power plants and waste transfer stations along the South Bronx waterfront. Each site has also been included as an area of significance in the Vision 2020 NYC Comprehensive Waterfront Plan, and several sites are currently proposed for elimination from SMIA designation. These sites, all of which are government owned, are easily accessible by pedestrians, have recognized historical significance, are already being used as ad hoc fishing and canoeing sites and connect to bigger capital projects already funded and under development (like the Randall’s Island Connector).