100% Union Labor for Largest Downtown Housing Project – Another Measure R Claim Proved False

One of the false claims of Measure R – that our current Downtown Plan doesn’t deliver community benefits from developers – was again disproved by this week’s news that the proposed 302-unit Residences at Berkeley Plaza will be built by 100% union labor. Berkeley Plaza main photo

Measure R backers deceptively claim that our current Downtown Plan doesn’t provide the community benefits – such as green building standards, affordable housing and prevailing wages for workers – that were promised to the voters when they passed our green Downtown plan in 2010. Measure R will be better for labor, the environment and Downtown in general, according to Measure R supporters.

But Measure R’s claims are not true. They disguise the anti-growth agenda behind Measure R, whose prohibitive fees and restrictions would make new housing and other building projects infeasible, as many independent analyses have found. (See the list on the right side of our Why Vote No page .)

At the same time, the current Downtown Plan is delivering the benefits promised to voters.

This past week, the developers of the largest project to move forward under the Downtown Plan – the 180-foot-tall Residences at Berkeley Plaza announced they have signed a labor agreement with the Building and Construction Trades Council of Alameda County for 100% union labor on the project. This is in addition to the other community benefits of the project, including LEED Gold green building standards, publicly accessible open space, free bus passes for residents and employees, and more.

If Measure R passes with its draconian restrictions and costs, however, the project would not be feasible and would not move forward, according to the developers. Berkeley Plaza 2nd photo

If Measure R were a better deal for labor, then why are unions almost unanimously opposed to it? Those endorsing “No on R” include the Building and Construction Trades Council of Alameda County, which represents 28 unions.

The Council’s president, Rob Stoker, called Measure R “grossly misleading” in a published statement and said that union leaders were misled by Measure R’s chief sponsor, Councilmember Jesse Arreguin.

Other union organizations opposed to Measure R include the chief one in the East Bay, the Alameda County Labor Council (representing 100,000 workers), as well as Sheet Metal Workers Local 104 and others.

If Measure R were better for the environment, why is it opposed by leading environmental groups such as the Greenbelt Alliance , Transform and League of Conservation Voters of the East Bay ?

If Measure R were better for affordable housing, why is it opposed by the East Bay’s foremost affordable housing coalition, East Bay Housing Organizations ?

And if Measure R were better for Downtown, why is it opposed the chief group representing the Downtown, the Downtown Berkeley Association , as well as by the Berkeley Chamber of Commerce and the Berkeley Police Association ?

Don’t be fooled. Measure R was born in deception. It was placed on the ballot by signature-gatherers who misleadingly touted it as a “Save the Post Office” initiative. (See Question #3 on our FAQ, “ I heard that Measure R will save the Post Office. Isn’t that right? ”)

You can see the unusually large and diverse coalition of organizations and individuals opposing Measure R on our Endorsements page .

Get the facts on Measure R and the danger it poses to Berkeley’s future in our FAQ and Why Vote No page .