June 24, 2011
The Queens Center Mall Campaign recently participated in a lively press conference outside the mall to demand that the mall provide good jobs to the community. The event was one of five statewide actions coordinated by the Getting Our Money's Worth coalition, which calls on state leaders to put forth a comprehensive jobs plan and ensure that economic development results in the creation of good jobs.
Dubbed "the hunt for the missing jobs plan," the event featured a Sherlock Holmes theme, with participants waving giant magnifying glasses and chanting "Where is the jobs plan?" and "You got bailed out! We got sold out!"
"The Queens Center Mall receives public subsidies even though it is one of the most profitable malls in the country," said Julissa Bisono, an organizer with Make the Road NY. "Instead of giving back to the community, they provide mostly poverty-wage jobs that don't pay well enough to live in Elmhurst."
Macerich, the owner of the Queens Center Mall, is receiving $100 million in taxpayer money. In return, the Queens Center Mall Campaign is asking that the mall require retailers to provide living wage jobs with benefits, ensure that workers have the right to organize free from threat and intimidation, and provide sufficient community space for services such as ESL classes and job search services.
Rodney Bullock, a Queens resident, retail worker and member of the Retail Action Project stated, "As a retail worker, I know the difference it makes to earn a living wage and have a voice on the job. The Queens Center Mall should not be allowed to treat people so poorly and keep their big tax breaks."
The event was co-sponsored by Make the Road NY, Queens Congregations United for Action, the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU), Retail Action Project (RAP), and The Alliance for a Greater New York (ALIGN).
The Getting Our Money's Worth Coalition is a broad coalition of public policy experts, government watchdogs, labor unions, community and religious organizations, and concerned small business owners, workers and taxpayers. The statewide coalition is anchored by ALIGN: The Alliance for a Greater New York and the Coalition for Economic Justice.