There is some recent and ongoing controversy surrounding the expansion of Avalon Bay Communities Inc., the country’s second largest publicly traded apartment developer.
Currently, Avalon Bay operates, or is in the process of building, nearly 20 residential complexes in New Jersey. But a report released by 32BJ SEIU (Service Employees International Union), the largest property service workers union in the New Jersey (with 125,000 members in eight states), details what is allegedly an “over aggressive” litigious attitude.
According to a press release on the report, the developer’s “brash and confrontational style dealing with a number of New Jersey municipal officials – and a disposition to run to the courthouse when things don’t go the “Avalon Way” – may be rubbing neighbors the wrong way in Princeton, Ocean Township and other towns in the Garden State.”
There is growing media attention to numerous safety, wage, and workers’ compensation violations by Avalon Bay and its contractors. And the report was made public as a result.
Indeed, the accusations against Avalon Bay aren’t limited to New Jersey. In Connecticut, for example (see: State Dept. of Labor investigates Avalon Bay in Wilton), the state government investigated AvalonBay in 2010 for a number of workplace violations. Workers on a particular site could not provide proof of workers’ compensation or insurance.
“Workers have to have workers comp. insurance among other certain requirements to work in the state of Connecticut,” said Gary Pechie, director of wage and workplace standards for the Connecticut Department of Labor. “This is an out of state company, but they should know the laws of the state they are working in.”
With that matter seemingly resolved, Avalon Bay is embroiled in a number of court cases and disputes throughout New Jersey. And the report describes and summarizes similar controversies in states around the country.
“Citizens of the Garden State deserve a much better neighbor,” the report concludes. “And, as they work to provide decent jobs and shelter for their communities, New Jersey municipal officials deserve a much more hospitable partner.”
To check out the report itself, see: http://www.troublingdevelopments.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/AvalonBay-bad-neighbor-in-the-garden-state.pdf.