The Bayonne Economic Opportunity Foundation (BEOF) announced that it has put five building trades people back to work through its local weatherization and energy efficiency program. Making use of more than $1 million in federal funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), the BEOF is covering the cost of construction materials and utility improvements. The federal funding has also enabled the BEOF to hire five union members from the Construction and General Building Laborers Local 325 to complete the program. ARRA is President Obama’s economic recovery legislation.
The workers are installing weather stripping, window caulking, and showerheads in apartments at Post Road Gardens, the public housing property at 537 Avenue A. Post Road Gardens is owned by South Shore Village Leased Housing, a private, non-profit corporation. The property is managed by the Bayonne Housing Authority. The BEOF estimates that the workers are completing the weatherization job at the rate of fifteen housing units per day. The work team will also replace inefficient refrigerators in Post Road apartments.
Mayor Mark A. Smith said, “I would like to commend the BEOF for working creatively with Laborers Local 325, South Shore, and the Bayonne Housing Authority to put union members back to work. The program at Post Road Gardens will make the building more energy-efficient while providing much-needed employment for New Jersey workers.”
According to BEOF Executive Director Ana Quintela, a BEOF weatherization technician is supervising the five members of Local 325. Their work started in October. The workers are being paid prevailing wage rates through the union, in accordance with the federal Davis-Bacon Act. Local 325 Business Agent Paul Roldan said the weatherization project is having a “direct impact on the union members.” Quintela credited Assemblyman Jason O’Donnell with lobbying for the reinstatement of the BEOF program’s federal funding, which had been lost last year.
Mayor Smith concluded, “The BEOF benefits by having immediate access to experienced, trained, and qualified workers who know what to do the first day on the job.”