UN Master Plan, Layoffs in Cafe Hurt Health, Workers Say, CMP Spin
Omits Safety Questions and
Budget Sleight of Hand
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, October 5, updated below
-- In the UN's Capital Master Plan renovation,
there are been bedbugs, there have been relocations to windowless
rooms. Now there are layoffs, beginning in the UN cafeteria. Inner City
Press first reported
about this possibility back in May 2009, here. Last
week, Inner City Press was told by cafe staff that on October 2 pink
slips would arrive.
effect was visible on October 5. There were fewer workers, and hot
food at the steam table was discontinued at 5 p.m., rather than 7:30.
In between the two, the offer was only of French fries and fried
meat. "They're trying to make everybody fat," one of the
remaining workers told Inner City Press. "Please write about
it." Consider it done.
A UN lunch, with UNDP's Clark, layoffs and
development not shown
UN's noon briefing on Monday, rather than answer the outstanding
questions about the CMP -- for example, why its "associated
costs" are not included in the budget the Secretary General has
submitted to the General Assembly -- the UN presented an upbeat
update, about work on the new and temporary General Assembly building,
asbestos removal and the ombudsman's relocation.
read out, about bombing deaths at the UN World Food Program in
there was nothing said about safety in New York. Inner City Press
last week reported on testimony about the lack of blast film on the
UN's all glass "swing space" on Madison Avenue. Other staff
have written in, saying that such film is missing in other UN
outbuildings. Watch this site.
of October 6: at Tuesday's noon briefing, days after Inner City
asked for a response to the Rio Group's criticism in an open meeting
of the Fifth (Budget) Committee of what it calls the non-inclusion of
the UN Capital Master Plan's associated costs in the budget, and
after it wrote about the Staff Union's criticism regarding blast
protection at 380 Madison Avenue in a meeting of the High Level
Management Committee, spokesperson Michele Montas read this into the
more note about the Capital Master plan to answer some questions
asked. About Security at 380 Madison Avenue, even though we usually
do not comment on measures taken so as not to compromise the security
of our staff, this instance is an exception, because erroneous
information has been circulating in the media already.
leases were signed, and before buildings were occupied after fit-out,
all swing space locations were cleared by the Department of Safety
and Security. At 380 Madison Avenue, the windows of the floors
occupied by UN staff are covered with blast resistant film.
associated costs, in its resolution A/RES/63/270, the General
Assembly decided “that the approved associated costs for the
capital master plan will be financed from within the approved budget
of the capital master plan unless otherwise specified by the General
Assembly.” The CMP stated last year and has stated again this year
that they will continue to seek costs savings and attempt to absorb
the associated costs. However, the CMP is not optimistic that they
will be able to absorb all the associated costs.
about associated costs is appreciated -- still to come: contingencies
-- the comment about inaccurate media report merits a same day
response. Inner City Press reported on what the Staff Union said in
the HLMC meeting. If the UN Department of Management does not respond
to criticisms made in such settings, or in a public meeting of the
Fifth Committee, it is not inaccurate for the Press to report on what
the Staff Union or Rio Group say.
The head of
the Department of
Management has previously said, in writing, that she does not have
time to answer questions. And so we report what's said and ask about
it, and publish belated responses on the day they are received.
noon briefing, after the unilateral read out above, Inner City Press
City Press: On the Capital Master Plan, I just wanted, the, the, I
guess, two questions. One, the statement about the blast film at
Madison Avenue was made during a High-Level Committee on Management
by the Staff Union, so I just want to be, you’re saying erroneous
media, media council [inaudible]. Has the Staff Union been informed,
that’s what they say…?
I don’t know whether the Staff Union was informed, but I do know
that they have the films on the windows…
City Press: Okay. What about in the, in the, what they call the
luggage building, the building on the corner of 42nd and 2nd?
I haven’t asked, but as they mentioned, all the buildings were
inspected by DSS [Department of Safety and Security].
City Press: Right, but the Staff Union says there was a safety plan,
but that the blast film wasn’t put on. I am just saying there’s
a dispute between the Union…
I haven’t, but the Capital Master Plan, they know what they have
* * *
UN, Food Workers Abruptly Told
of Layoffs, Swine Flu and Drugs Gag Order
Byline: Matthew Russell Lee
Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis
UNITED NATIONS, May 4 --
With the diplomacy for which the United Nations is
known, its food service workers in New York were abruptly told Monday
layoffs begin on August 2. The UN headquarters is scheduled to be
emptied and repaired,
by a contractor Skanska being sued for asbestos, and its cafeteria
is to be
cut in two, consolidated with the more upscale Delegates' Dining Room.
staring at the day's offerings of chicken legs and corn, complained to
City Press that while "Obama is trying to save jobs, Ban Ki-moon is
The notice was by the UN's contractor Aramark. Its
has not given similar notices, as there will still be a need to clear
so-called swing spaces on Madison Avenue and 47th Street and Second
42nd and 46th Streets.
As Inner City Press has reported, the move is called
into question by
the Department of Safety
and Security's failure to produce risk assessments for
the swing space locations. Capital Master Plan chief Michael
Adlerstein is now
said to be blaming the head of the UN's New York security for not
UN's Ban and Adlerstein, with Skanska, layoff
notices not shown
Adlerstein will hold a meeting with staff on May
7, but the contractors
being unceremoniously told of lay-offs are not expected to be invited.
Footnotes: The UN's
David Navarro, in an uncharacteristically testy press conference on
refused to state whether any UN staff have tested positive to swine or
flu. Inner City Press asked him to comment on irregularities
"pharmaceutical controls," including with regard to Tamiflu as well
as Daizepam, in the UN Medical Service, but he declined.
his briefing was so Ban Ki-moon won't be answered flu-related questions
May 5 press conference. But now that seemed inevitable.
The role of the
pork industry in the UN World Health Organization's decision to change
the name of Swine Flu is not yet fully known. Apparently poultry groups
didn't have as much clout, as it is still called Bird Flu. On a recent
WHO press conference call, Inner City Press repeatedly pushed 0-1 to
get in line to ask a question, but wasn't called on. Next time, then.
Watch this site.
for an Inner City Press YouTube channel video, mostly UN Headquarters
footage, about civilian
in Sri Lanka.
Click here for Inner City
Press' March 27 UN debate
Click here for Inner City
Press March 12 UN (and AIG
Click here for Inner City
Press' Feb 26 UN debate
12 debate on Sri Lanka http://bloggingheads.tv/diavlogs/17772?in=11:33&out=32:56
Click here for Inner City Press' Jan.
16, 2009 debate about Gaza
Click here for Inner City Press'
review-of-2008 UN Top Ten debate
Click here for Inner
City Press' December 24 debate on UN budget, Niger
Click here from Inner City Press'
December 12 debate on UN double standards
Click here for Inner
City Press' November 25 debate on Somalia, politics
and this October 17 debate, on
Security Council and Obama and the UN.
* * *
usually also available through Google
News and on Lexis-Nexis.
for a Reuters
AlertNet piece by this correspondent
about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click
for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali
Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an
undefined trust fund. Video
Office: S-453A, UN, NY 10017
earlier Inner City Press are listed here, and some are available
in the ProQuest service, and now on Lexis-Nexis.
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