Union gives coal to pols in opposition of proposed Syosset mall

Union gives coal to pols in opposition of proposed Syosset mall

Long Island union construction workers brought more than a dozen stockings filled with coal to the steps of Oyster Bay Town Hall today to deliver a message to town officials who have opposed a proposed shopping mall on the former Cerro Wire property in Syosset.

About 15 members of the Nassau Suffolk Building Trades, which represents about 60,000 union workers, dropped off the stockings Sunday, said union president Jack Kennedy. They were led by one teamster dressed in a Santa suit.

Kennedy said the Christmas Eve protest was in response to comments from Oyster Bay Supervisor John Venditto, who last week urged Michigan-based developer Taubman Centers to build anything other than its proposed mall, and preferably, affordable housing. Venditto said he would fight the project through the courts for “as long as it takes” to prevent the mall from going up.

Venditto could not be reached immediately for comment Sunday.

Taubman filed the latest round of court papers in October, asking the state Supreme Court to approve its application to build an 860,000-square-foot mall on the 39-acre site north of the Long Island Expressway formerly occupied by Cerro Wire and Cable Co.

Over the past four years, courts have instructed the town to revisit its 2001 refusal to approve the mall, and the town has appealed. Taubman went back to court after negotiations with the town over a mall of less than 750,000 square feet stalled.

Kennedy said the town’s opposition of the project has cost union workers jobs and money. Kennedy said Venditto “got coal because he deserves it. And because if voters don’t get a measure of political leadership from Oyster Bay Town Hall, working men and women are going to be faced with an unmitigated recession.”

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