Mexican Teachers May Lose Ability To Pass On Their Jobs to Their Children

December 15, 2012


(Sultan Knish aka Daniel Greenfield via front page mag) If you want to see the feudalism toward which America’s public sector unions are headed, look no further than Mexico where teaching positions aren’t a job, they’re membership in a guild that can be passed on to your children so that teachers can give birth to teachers who will go on teaching for all eternity until no one can read or write anymore.

Tens of thousands of teachers are blocking highways and seizing government buildings across Mexico to protest a federal education reform ending their longtime practice of selling their jobs or giving them to their children.

They’re doing it for the children… literally. Their children.

“We’re fighting to guarantee jobs for our kids,” Oscar Miranda said as he helped teachers stage a protest in front of the governor’s office in Cuernavaca, the capital of Morelos. “Throughout history the sons of carpenters have become carpenters. Even politicians’ children become politicians. Why shouldn’t our children have the same right?”

Wake up America, this is what we are headed for.
Trying to turn America into Mexico, institutionally and demographically, will lead to actual feudalism, composed of guilds of fake professionals.
But you can also sell teaching jobs.

“Teaching jobs were routinely bought and sold for as much as $6,000. That’s as much as beginning teachers make in a year. The jobs are still coveted because they provide steady income, particularly in poor areas.”

Now that the leftist PRI is back in power in Mexico, they are following through on a pledge to end the whole “Passing on Public Sector Jobs to Your Children” business, which Felipe Calderon tried and failed to do.

Addressing teachers at a ceremony in Mexico City, President Enrique Pena Nieto laid out a proposal that would champion merit-based teacher promotions and chip away at the union’s power to hire teachers on its own terms. “Your rights will be safe because your income, tenure and promotion will not be subject to discretionary criteria. Good teachers will have the opportunity to advance based on their professional merits.”

So how broken does a system have to be before a leftist politician embraces merit promotions for teachers? This broken.
But now can you imagine living in a country where the left is actually opposed to teacher’s unions?

“No more promotions for loyalty, (or) cronyism with union leaders,” said Jesus Zambrano, who heads the leftist opposition Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD). “Let’s have promotion be based on teacher merit and professionalism.”

Right winger! He hates the middle class! He wants to destroy education! We need to protect our kids from education reform that will drain us of the best teachers who happen to be genetically born to other teachers!
So teachers’ unions may once again go on strike in Mexico and that’s serious business over there. Sure our teachers’ unions are nasty, but they do worse over there than punch people in the face.

Police raided three teachers colleges on Monday in the western state of Michoacan, where dozens of students had been hijacking buses and delivery trucks for a week to protest curriculum changes.
Masked protesters battled police with rocks and fireworks. Student involved in the campus takeovers burned a dozen trucks and buses before authorities swept in, detaining 176 strikers. Ten police officers were injured, three seriously, the Michoacan state government reported.
The standoff at the teachers colleges began over a week ago, when students seized the campuses to protest plans to require them to take English and computer science courses. The protesters say the colleges are meant to prepare teachers for rural areas where basic skills are more of a priority.

If you want this to come to America, just keep voting for Democrats and keep the borders open.


NLRB drops Boeing suit at behest of union | Campaign 2012 | Washington Examiner

December 9, 2011

(campaign2012.washingtonexaminer.com @PhilipaKlein) If there was still any lingering doubt that the Obama administration was in the back pocket of unions, that should end today, as the National Labor Relations Board dropped its lawsuit against Boeing at the urging of a union.
Media_httpcampaign201_bjejjIn April, NLRB acting general counsel Lafe Solomon sued Boeing for building a non-union factory in South Carolina — demanding that they move the work to unionized Washington state. Solomon stuck with his case even though it rested on a flawed legal theory — and even as a Democratic former chairman of the NLRB criticized the action “unprecedented.” But last week, Boeing and the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers reached a deal that was subsequently approved by union members. The New York Times now reports:

The N.L.R.B.’s acting general counsel, Lafe Solomon, said the labor board had decided to end the case after the machinists’ union — which originally asked for the case to be brought — had urged the board on Thursday to withdraw it.

So there you have it. A lawsuit that was brought at the behest of the union is now ended at the behest of the union.
While some people will now like to forget this whole episode, it’s important to remember what happened here. As I noted last week, this has all the characteristics of a shake down. The South Carolina factory that was at the center of this case — that we were told represented an illegal retaliation against the union — still remains open. But Boeing has agreed to build another airplane model at a unionized factory in Washington state and to offer the union a raft of salary and benefit increases. The union got paid, so now the Obama administration can withdraw its lawsuit. Talk about Gangster Government.

I wish I was in a union. Then I would have work, but unions are controlled by elitists… and a Zionist Jew like myself is not welcome


Mortimer Zuckerman: The Exasperation of the Democratic Billionaire

October 17, 2011
Media_httpsiwsjnetpub_vejmg(WSJ) …he supported Mr. Obama’s call for heavy spending on infrastructure. “But if you look at the make-up of the stimulus program,” says Mr. Zuckerman, “roughly half of it went to state and local municipalities, which is in effect to the municipal unions which are at the core of the Democratic Party.”


Card Check: It’s Baaack!

September 25, 2011

John Kline, a Republican Representative from Minnesota: “It is beyond me how one can possibly claim that a system whereby everyone – your employer, your union organizer, and your co-workers – knows exactly how you vote on the issue of unionization gives an employee ‘free choice.'”


“YOU WILL DIE!!!!” Read The Death Threat E-Mail Sent To Wisconsin GOP Senators [Update 4: Wisconsin Teacher Charged]

April 1, 2011

Since the MSM appears intent on downplaying the growing intimidation and escalating threats of violence around the union power issue, I am reprinting verbatim an email that was sent to Republican senators.  Remember this? Wisconsin Dem State Rep. Gordon Hintz To Republican “You are F***king dead!” Incitement to murder?
(The senders name has been redacted -Ed.)
From: XXXX
Sent: Wed 3/9/2011 9:18 PM
To: Sen.Kapanke; Sen.Darling; Sen.Cowles; Sen.Ellis; Sen.Fitzgerald; Sen.Galloway; Sen.Grothman; Sen.Harsdorf; Sen.Hopper; Sen.Kedzie; Sen.Lasee; Sen.Lazich; Sen.Leibham; Sen.Moulton; Sen.Olsen
Subject: Atten: Death threat!!!! Bomb!!!!
Please put your things in order because you will be killed and your familes
will also be killed due to your actions in the last 8 weeks. Please explain
to them that this is because if we get rid of you and your families then it
will save the rights of 300,000 people and also be able to close the deficit
that you have created. I hope you have a good time in hell. Read below for
more information on possible scenarios in which you will die.

WE want to make this perfectly clear. Because of your actions today and in
the past couple of weeks I and the group of people that are working with me
have decided that we’ve had enough. We feel that you and the people that
support the dictator have to die.
We have tried many other ways of dealing
with your corruption but you have taken things too far and we will not stand
for it any longer. So, this is how it’s going to happen: I as well as many
others know where you and your family live, it’s a matter of public records.
We have all planned to assult you by arriving at your house and putting a
nice little bullet in your head.
However, we decided that we wouldn’t leave
it there. We also have decided that this may not be enough to send the
message to you since you are so “high” on Koch and have decided that you are
now going to single handedly make this a dictatorship instead of a
demorcratic process. So we have also built several bombs that we have placed
in various locations around the areas in which we know that you frequent.
This includes, your house, your car, the state capitol
, and well I won’t
tell you all of them because that’s just no fun. Since we know that you are
not smart enough to figure out why this is happening to you we have decided
to make it perfectly clear to you. If you and your goonies feel that it’s
necessary to strip the rights of 300,000 people and ruin their lives, making
them unable to feed, clothe, and provide the necessities to their families
and themselves then We Will “get rid of” (in which I mean kill) you. Please
understand that this does not include the heroic Rep. Senator that risked
everything to go aganist what you and your goonies wanted him to do. We feel
that it’s worth our lives to do this, because we would be saving the lives
of 300,000 people. Please make your peace with God as soon as possible and
say goodbye to your loved ones we will not wait any longer. YOU WILL DIE!!!!
H/T Jonathon M. Seidl at The Blaze who adds:

WTMJ confirmed police are investigating several death threats, including the e-mail above.
Wisconsin GOP senators were told toe flee the Capitol almost immediately after their vote because police said “it was not safe.”


Update: According to this union scum @BCombs212 the death threats are no biggie; “Everyone dies

Update 2:
WisPolitics.com

MADISON – The Wisconsin Department of Justice, Division of Criminal Investigation and the Wisconsin Capitol Police have investigated numerous threats against elected officials over the last four weeks. Last evening, the DCI identified and located a subject suspected of sending at least two of those threats.
The suspect subsequently admitted to authoring and sending two e-mails threatening to kill the Governor and members of the Senate. DCI Administrator Ed Wall said “The Division of Criminal Investigation takes these kind of threats seriously and will follow through with the investigation and prosecution whenever possible.”
This investigation is still ongoing and no further information will be released pending presentation to the District Attorney in the jurisdiction of the threat origination. The Department of Justice has notified members of the Governor’s Office and Senate in regard to the recent developments in this investigation.

The following is the text of a second email sent by the suspect in question:

F— YOU ASSHOLE, I AM FORMALLY REQUESTING TO SEE THE 30,000 EMAILS YOU HAVE GOTTEN MAKING YOU COMPLY WITH THE OPEN RECORDS LAW. I ASSURE YOU THAT NONE OF THEM ARE IN SUPPORT OF YOU OR ANYTHING THAT YOU OR YOUR STAFF STAND FOR. YOUR STAFF MEMBERS HAVE NOW BEEN ADDED TO THE HIT LIST AS WELL AS THOSE OF THE OTHER SENATE MEMBERS WE HAVE THREATENED. PLEASE ADVISE THEM OF THE IMPENDING DANGER LEADING TO THIER DEATHS.

Update 3: In related death threat news, Wisconsin State  Senator Dan Kapanke received this odious threat.

I WILL HAVE YOUR DECAPITATED HEAD ON A PIKE IN THE MADISON TOWN SQUARE.

There’s more…
Update 4:

(JS Online) A 26-year-old woman was charged Thursday with two felony counts and two misdemeanor counts for allegedly making email threats against Wisconsin lawmakers during the height of the battle over Gov. Scott Walker’s budget-repair bill.
Katherine R. Windels of Cross Plains was named in a criminal complaint filed in Dane County Criminal Court.
According to the criminal complaint, Windels allegedly sent an email threat to State Sen. Robert Cowles (R-Green Bay) March 9. Later that evening, she allegedly sent another email to 15 Republican legislators, including Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau).
The subject line of the second email was: “Atten: Death Threat!!!! Bomb!!!” In that email, she purportedly wrote, “Please put your things in order because you will be killed and your families will also be killed due to your actions in the last 8 weeks.”

NYTIMES
OBSCURES TRUTH:
a FOIA request for a
PUBLIC University
Professor’s Email
is standard
and is explained
by Human Resources
A conservative
research group
in Michigan
has issued a far-reaching
public records request to the
labor studies departments
at three public universities
in the state,
seeking any e-mails
involving the Wisconsin
labor turmoil.

“I hope you have a good time in hell,” she allegedly wrote in the lengthy email in which she purportedly listed scenarios in which the legislators and their families would die, including bombings and by “putting a nice little bullet in your head.”
According to the criminal complaint, Windels told investigators “I sent out emails that I was disgusted and very upset by what they were doing.”
Asked if she intended to follow through on any of her threats, Windels told the investigators “No,” according to the complaint.
Windels was charged with two felony counts “bomb scare” and two misdemeanor counts of “computer message-threatening injury/bodily harm.” If convicted, each felony count carries a maximum penalty of three years and six months in prison and a $10,000 fine, and each misdemeanor count carries a maximum penalty of 90 days in prison and a $1,000 fine.

Teacher
With Long History of Depression
Kills Herself

Reportedly she is an early childhood/elementary school teacher and there is talk that her father is Madison, Wisconsin area  psychiatrist William Windels.

the context is clear


The Unsolved Problem of Labor

March 31, 2011

A century later there are still sweatshops not very far from the former building that housed the Triangle Waist Company, which has been absorbed by the spreading blot of the NYU campus. The women who work in these sweatshops are not Jewish and Italian, but Chinese. They make from 1 to 3 dollars an hour — and 90 percent of them are members of unions.
Many of the NYU students who go in and out of the Brown building, where hundreds of women died, wear trendy clothing made in sweatshops. The clothing is not cheap, it is cheaply made. Those students who wanted a moral alternative bought clothes from American Apparel, which promoted its clothes as sweatshop free, turning the company into a major player in the garment industry. But American Apparel started out by subcontracting its manufacturing to Sam Lim, since then it has employed large numbers of illegal aliens and the lawsuits charging the AA boss with sexual harassment and blackmail, suggest its office workers might envy Norma Rae.
The tale of the Triangle Waist Company is intertwined with that of the ILGWU, the union which represented female garment workers. But the ILGWU no longer exists, instead it has been merged into a restaurant workers union, and even that combined union has half the membership the ILGWU did. The combined union is run by a Yale Phi Beta Kappa grad, whose wife, another Yale alumni, cozily runs the union’s health plan. Additionally he serves on the Board of Trustees of Washington D.C.’s high end liberal public policy think tank, the Brookings Institute. It’s enough to make the NYU tenants of the old home of the Triangle factory seem downright lower class.
What happened to the unions? A union is an organization, not the expression of the collective will of the workers. It is not fundamentally different than the sweatshops, it just operates on another business model. A sweatshop and a union both run for the benefit of the bosses, they just have a different set of customers, the sweatshop’s customers are the brands and the union’s customers are the workers. Both the sweatshop and the union win over their customers with ruthless tactics, but the final profit goes to the bosses.
The Triangle era saw ruthless exploitation and conflict between workers and bosses. The bosses suppressed worker discontent and strikes by hiring local gangs for protection or relying on the Democratic party’s Tammany Hall machine to send out its cops, at a time when promotion in the New York City police force meant paying money to the boys on top . The workers turned to gangs and to left wing radicals, who built up their unions, took them over and turned them into a trust that controlled entire industries. The trust was integrated into the political machine. Soon the sweatshop workers and owners were both working for the same people.
The ILGWU, which newspapers and labor mythmakers would have us believe that the falling women of the Triangle Waist Company died for, used gangsters like Little Augie and Lepke Buchalter, head of Murder Inc, to maintain control over the trust. And though much is made by feminists of the ILGWU being a mostly female union, it was and in its current incarnation is still run by men who did not tolerate any dissent. When the Depression killed the boom that had powered the garment business, it also killed the ILGWU’s trust. Only federal intervention by FDR’s labor regulations turned the tide. But that too was only temporary. Once the garment industry was able to begin outsourcing to cheaper labor abroad, the ILGWU began dying a slow death.
The sweatshop’s business model depended on raising the cost of labor, and charging the workers for doing their organizing for them, which conflicted with the garment industry’s need to make clothes as cheaply as possible. Now those same clothes are being made in China or Chinatown. The ILGWU, like so many unions, promised the good life, but they could only deliver temporary raises followed by the decimation of the industry itself. It was enough time for a generation to get on its feet, but not for those that followed it. There are still garment worker union members and plenty of them work in sweatshops while making below minimum wage. This is no paradox. A large membership means wealth and power for those on top. It doesn’t necessarily mean anything for those on the bottom. Cheap garments will always be made, whether they will be made cheaply by union or non-union members. They fill a need and as long as people buy based primarily on price considerations, the sweatshop will go on existing.

Sweatshops were built to take advantage of a new business model, that sidelined tailors who worked for individual customers, for mass produced garments by factory workers. The workers could be unskilled and disposable. An owner made the lowest bid for a contract, borrowed money and rented a space and equipment, got workers for as little as he could, and then tried to squeeze blood out of them to make a profit. If he succeeded, then he might be able to do the same thing again, if he didn’t, he would be bankrupt. The cheaply made clothes were of lower quality (though of much higher quality than most clothes you’ll find at Wal-Mart or K-Mart today) but affordable for millions of people. A successful worker might save up enough to become an owner himself. And plenty of doctors, lawyers and tycoons had fathers or mothers who started out this way.
That is what makes the problem of labor so difficult. Over a hundred women died in the Triangle Waist Company fire, but how many hundreds of thousands of women lived because the garment industry, with all the ugliness of its sweatshops and child labor, provided a way for them and their families to come to America. How many of them would have survived under Nazi or Communist rule?
It isn’t a cheerful question to ask, but any moral consideration of the Triangle Waist Company must also raise that question. The possibility that the garment industry still saved far more lives than it took. And that moral consideration is often at the heart of unregulated capitalism. Does its ultimate prosperity justify its abuses?
Today China has slave labor, widespread pollution and a rising middle class. And America has a tightly regulated labor market and a declining middle class. Liberals despise trickle down economics, but prosperity is undeniably trickling away from the regulatory republics of the West and into the maw of Chinese crony capitalists. And the Chinese sweatshop workers in New York, slaving over machines in hot rooms, the way their Jewish and Italian predecessors did, are more likely to have children who will go to Yale, than the Black and Hispanic government employees living on generous union negotiated salaries
New York City has lost 2 percent of its Black residents who are mainly moving to the non-union south, because there are jobs there. The large Black populations in Northeastern cities had come for the jobs in booming urban industries. Particularly during wartime, when so many American workers were fighting in Europe or Asia. When those industries moved abroad, they left behind ghettos full of people who could no longer find work. The race riots had far more to do with joblessness, than with discrimination, as can be seen by looking at the much milder race riots during WW2 when jobs were available.
The liberal northeast is a union paradise, and yet black people are deserting it. They are abandoning strongholds like New York, Chicago and Boston. And it’s not just the Northeast, even a Pacific liberal haven like San Francisco is losing its black population. The Federal government is going after Marin County for its lack of diversity, accusing it of violating the Civil Rights Act. But officials have tried to attract Black residents with the usual diversity buzzwords, but how do you do that without jobs? Every article about Black emigration from urban areas uses those same buzzwords and all of them miss the point. Chicago, New York and San Francisco did not suddenly turn racist– they turned jobless.
While unions can lock in a guaranteed number of jobs at a given salary– they can only do so at the cost of reducing the overall number of available jobs. You can have a 100,000 very good jobs, a 1,000,000 average jobs or 10,000,000 miserable ones or a 100,000,000 slave labor jobs. The unionized northeast has gone with the.100,000 and China has gone with the 100,000,000. Which is why they have jobs and we don’t. That is not to say that we should be imitating China– rather it is important to understand the dynamic at work here.
Liberalism’s celebration of diversity is properly a celebration of capitalism. That diversity would not exist without it. America was built by everyone from indentured English and Irish servants, German, Irish, Jewish and Italian factory workers, Swedish farmers and miners to African-American slaves, and half the world, from Norway to China. Many of them were treated badly, but the larger story may be what they and their descendants achieved here. Liberals like to fit that into a narrative that begins with exploitation and ends with regulation– but then why are so many of the millions of White and Black workers who depended on major industries out of work?
Their answer is that government solves everything. But let us take a look at another fire that happened not far from the site of the Triangle Waist Company fire and is much less remembered today. The fire on board the General Slocum.
In the summer of 1904, the General Slocum, a  ship taking the women and children of the ethnic German community in Manhattan, for an outing caught fire. But its safety equipment from life jackets to hoses were completely useless. Over a thousand women and children died within sight of the shore. Died in useless and senseless ways that would have never happened had the safety equipment been inspected. But the ‘inspectors’ were part of the Democratic party’s corrupt Tammany Hall network, who were appointed by political patrons to a lucrative office and were notorious for passing anything. Life vests filled with iron bars and rotten hoses on the General Slocum got their approval. The regulations were there, but government corruption ensured that they would not be enforced.

A year earlier, 650 theater patrons had died in Chicago during the Iroquois Theatre fire, again because of corrupt inspectors. Safety equipment was non-existent and the law went unenforced. Charges were leveled against everyone up to Chicago Mayor Carter Harrison, but the ‘Chicago Way’ ensured that justice was not served. And a year later, Carter Harrison was running for the Democratic party’s nomination for President.
Both these events were at least as horrifying as the Triangle Waist Company fire, and had a much higher death toll. But they are not remembered because not only do they fail to make a pro-labor point, but they actually make a much more dangerous point about the inherent corruptibility of government authority. They remind us that regulation is law and law is enforced by men through a bureaucracy overseen by political patronage. And that such systems are no more moral or ethical, and no less greedy, than that of the sweatshops. As we confront a 15 trillion dollar deficit and an uncontrollable orgy of greed by politicians and public sector unions who are their electoral base, we are reminded of that every day.
The only answer may be that there is no answer. It is men who make moral choices, and it is the individual, whether in a corporation, a union and or a government who does or does not do the right thing. The problem of labor cannot be solved by creating more organizations, as that only creates more hierarchies which also treat workers as cash cows. They cannot be solved through passing laws in one country, while its citizens purchase the benefits of slave labor from another. There may be no solving it at all. And on the former site of the Triangle Waist Company, students pass holding iPod’s made by abused workers in China whose economy is nevertheless threatening to dominate the 21st century.

Posted via email from noahdavidsimon’s posterous

Leave a Comment » | American Apparel, China, Chinatown, FDR, ILGWU, K-Mart, sweatshops, Triangle Waist Company fire, Unions, Wal-Mart, Yale | Permalink
Posted by Noah Simon


world’s tallest prefab steel structure for first affordable tower

March 20, 2011

Critic Lange: Maybe Gehry’s design was kinda modular, too…

Atlantic Yards Report:

…In Bad Faith Towers, Design Observer’s Alexandra Lange makes the connection between the Times’s graphic, for illustrative purposes, of a pre-fabricated, modular tower that might be built at the Atlantic Yards site, and a Frank Gehry rendering of the arena block, which looks pretty darn modular.

She writes:

Are we so desperate for affordable housing (again, the recession changes everything) that we will take a chance on untested building technology? Who gets to be the guinea pig on the 34th floor? Surely Forest City Ratner did not want this news out the week of the Japanese quake.

…Surely Ratner will tart up the prefab units with some cast concrete lintels and blown-up brownstone details, and call them contextual. But the truth is, the Times rendering is not so far from the boxy stacks Gehry proposed after the billowing Miss Brooklyn proved too costly. As with the disappointing 8 Spruce Street, there’s a thin value engineered line between industrial production and genius.

link

Big savings, but promised Union jobs, tax revenues lost, and new risks at Brooklyn Atlantic Yards… The problem here is this government intervening project was supposed to create jobs, but cost cuts save the project without creating the promised jobs. This is why you don’t want the government taking private property away!

In what seems to be a desperate–or maybe innovative–effort to save money and time, Forest City Ratner may build the world’s tallest modular structure to deliver the affordable housing long promised as an Atlantic Yards benefit.

In doing so, however, FCR would establish its own factory to manufacture the components, severely cutting expected on-site union jobs, and presumably cutting deeply into projected tax revenues, thus upending the always optimistic estimates of project benefits.

FCR’s Lego-like solution would severely antagonize union construction workers who, fulfilling requests by the developer and their own leadership, fervently and sometimes obnoxiously backed the project at rallies and public hearings.
And the bait-and-switch would continue a pattern of renegotiating contracts in order to save money.
For example, FCR in 2005 bid $100 million in cash for the rights to build on the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s Vanderbilt Yard, only to renegotiate the contract in 2009, paying only $20 million out of the $100 million pledged, with 22 years to pay the rest.
Also, in building a 34-story tower at first, FCR would take risks by venturing into a construction technology that is still developing, the current record-holder only rises 25 stories..
A scoop for the Times
Charles Bagli of the New York Times, who has paid intermittent attention to the project but is a go-to guy for scoops, has the story, headlined Prefabricated Tower May Rise at Brooklyn’s Atlantic Yards:

In a bid to cut costs at his star-crossed Atlantic Yards project in Brooklyn, the developer Bruce C. Ratner is pursuing plans to erect the world’s tallest prefabricated steel structure, a 34-story tower that would fulfill his obligation to start building affordable housing at the site.
The prefabricated, or modular, method he would use, which is untested at that height, could cut construction costs in half by saving time and requiring substantially fewer and cheaper workers. And the large number of buildings planned for the $4.9 billion Atlantic Yards — 16 in all, not including the Nets arena now under construction — could also make it economical for the company to run its own modular factory, where walls, ceilings, floors, plumbing and even bathrooms and kitchens could be installed in prefabricated steel-frame boxes.
The 34-story building, with roughly 400 apartments, would comprise more than 900 modules that would be hauled to Atlantic Yards, lifted into place by crane and bolted together at the corner of Flatbush Avenue and Dean Street, next to the arena.

The current record-holder


The tallest modular building in the world, according to a 9/2/09 article in Building Design and Construction, is Victoria Hall, a 25-story apartment tower in Wolverhampton, England. A 9/21/09 article in National Real Estate Investor (source of the photo) calls it 24 stories.
Note the prefab appearance. Does Forest City Ratner’s claim that buzzy firm SHoP will design the building apply to the modular units? Or, more likely, would SHoP merely graft a “skin” on the building, as with the Ellerbe Becket arena?
Some flaws
The Times suggests that tall modular buildings require significant bracing, but modular buildings can have their flaws. A 3/26/08 Times article describes a modular building at Yale University that was built in 2004:

“They tried to blend in the appearance of the building with what’s here already,” said Martin Dominguez, a first-year medical student who was also an undergraduate at Yale and has lived in the modular building for 18 months. “They did a reasonably good job, though the building obviously looks pretty modern relative to the other architecture.”
Mr. Dominguez said he was not happy with the quality of the dormitory’s construction — some of the walls do not quite fit together and the floor is uneven in the bathroom, he said.

However, the Times reported, campus housing administrators at another college were impressed with the work and decided to go the modular route.
The benefits of modular
The Modular Building Institute, a trade group, explains that Modular Delivers More than Speed to Completion:

Commercial modular buildings are cutting-edge facilities of the highest quality, efficiency, endurance, and design: cost-effective permanent and temporary buildings that respond to ever-changing demands…
Today, multi-story, multi-unit buildings can be constructed in a factory from steel and concrete. The units, shipped to the site either on a flatbed trailer or on their own axles and tires, are craned into place and joined on site. Once completed, these high-end, factory-built buildings are indistinguishable from site-built construction. There generally are no visual or structural differences whatsoever….
The advantages of modular construction remain the same, however. Commercial modular structures are built in a climate- and quality-controlled environment, where savings of as much as 50% in overall construction time are not uncommon.

Ratner savings, union tensions
The Times reported that Forest City has been designing both a conventional tower and a modular one, and is looking for sites in Long Island City for a factory:

“The company is interested in modular, high-rise construction in an urban setting,” [FCR’s] Ms. [Maryanne] Gilmartin said. “It’s driven by cost and efficiencies.”
But it would also infuriate the construction workers who were Mr. Ratner’s most ardent supporters during years of stormy community meetings, where they drowned out neighborhood opponents with chants of, “Jobs, jobs, jobs.”

The Times notes that Forest City promised Atlantic Yards would generate “upwards of 17,000 union construction jobs.” Actually, that’s job-years, so 1700 jobs a year over ten years or, more likely, many fewer jobs a year over a much longer period of time, perhaps 25 years.
The Times reports:

Not to worry, Ms. Gilmartin said, “We’re a union shop, and we build union.”
But under current wage scales, union workers earn less in a factory than they do on-site. A carpenter earns $85 an hour in wages and benefits on-site, but only $35 an hour in a factory.

Need for a cost-benefit analysis
Gilmartin should be asked to estimate the actual number of expected jobs, as well as the total in wages. Or the Empire State Development Corporation should do so.
Such numbers should be plugged into the cost-benefit analyses conducted by the city, state, and Independent Budget Office.
Forest City is clearly under pressure to fulfill its obligations and make its expected profits. City officials denied a request for $10 million in additional housing subsidies.
Going to 34 stories?
A firm located in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, Capsys, states that its system is good for 12 stories:

Our system of structural steel framing, concrete floors, and steel-framed walls is ideal for projects as high as 12 stories. Our in-house engineering group is capable of designing modular structures that fit the floor plan of almost any residential building.

Those quoted by the Times say taller buildings are possible, but pose challenges:

“At a smaller scale, prefab buildings have proven to be more efficient, more sustainable and less expensive,” said Thomas Hanrahan, dean of Pratt Institute’s School of Architecture. “The taller the building, the logistical and structural issues become much more complex.”

Keeping the arena block quieter
Unmentioned in the Times: prefab construction would clearly make it easier to build towers around the arena while conducting arena activities.
After all, cranes would be at the site for less time, and fewer workers would be at the site, as well.

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Developer Bruce Ratner recently revealed the latest design for his proposed new Nets basketball arena in Prospect Heights, part of a controversial project that also includes 16 residential and office towers. The third version of the 675,000-square-foot Atlantic Yards arena was created by local SHoP Architects and Kansas City-based Ellerbe Becket.

The Brooklyn development project has restored some of the ideas of Frank Gehry, the original designer. Earlier this summer he was replaced with Ellerbe Becket, whose preliminary designs elicited howls of protest.

According to the associated press, the price for the project is 800 million USD, reduced from an earlier estimate of 1 billion USD.
To defer additional costs, Mr. Ratner has divided up the design. ‘The arena will be built first, and then,’ he says, ‘the foundations for the residential and commercial buildings will be dug, once he is ready to start the next stage of construction.’


In Mr. Gehry’s original design, all of the structures were conceived as part of a single cohesive scheme.

For further information read the New York Times article here.
via archicentral.com

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