It is your fault
Feb. 13 — That’s the date the Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. made an agreement with FreshDirect to provide more than $130 million in subsidies for its warehouse in the Bronx. April 30 — that’s the date the City Council approved living wage legislation that would require companies like FreshDirect receiving large city subsidies to pay $10 an hour with benefits, $11.50 without.
On Monday, Mr. Diaz had the nerve to appear on BronxTalk with Gary Axelbank and dodge responsibility for FreshDirect’s hard-labor jobs that pay $8.75 an hour — less than a living wage and not much more than the minimum wage.
Mr. Axelbank read a job description — from an ad endorsed by the Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation, which has been handing out flyers for FreshDirect at job fairs with your tax dollars — for work in a freezer, with mandatory overtime and 12-hour shifts.
When he confronted Mr. Diaz for supporting the poorly paid positions, the champion of the living wage whined.
“[It’s] not my fault,” Mr. Diaz said.
Mr. Diaz, the man who rightfully scuttled a Related Companies mall deal for the Kingsbridge Armory because it would not guarantee living wages, somehow tried to escape responsibility for the poverty jobs he helped create at FreshDirect in the South Bronx.
The borough president can take credit for his tough stance on the Armory, which eventually lead to the passage of living wage legislation in the City Council, though the final bill was watered down.
But he made sure to get the FreshDirect deal signed before the bill was passed and then blamed the City Council for not moving fast enough.
Now he can also take credit for poverty jobs at FreshDirect.
You can’t have it both ways, Mr. Diaz. And it is your fault.