different kind of welcome: Carpenters picket Krispy
Kreme. Photo by: Teri Currie
So Sweet for Local Contractors
new Krispy Kreme, the first of its kind in the Capital Region,
has been enticing hungry folks from all over the Capital Region
to line up inside, outside, at the drive-through, and in traffic
jams up and down Route 7 since its opening in February. This
Saturday (March 13), it also drew attendance from the Empire
State Regional Council of Carpenters, who were willing to
stand outside in the blustery weather for reasons other than
satisfying a sweet tooth.
According to the council of carpenters, Dynamic Doughnuts
Inc., owner of the Latham Krispy Kreme franchise, brought
in nonunion contractors from Syracuse-based Unique Designs
to build the store, and the neighboring Applebee’s, rather
than using local union workers. The company paid these out-of-towners
a wage that was substantially lower than the area’s industry
standards, said the council.
To raise awareness about these labor practices, council members
congregated in front of Krispy Kreme and Applebee’s and handed
out flyers to patrons. “We are trying to bring to the public’s
attention that those of us who live here and support the businesses
here deserve to have the jobs in this area,” said council
representative Michael donVito. However, the carpenters take
issue less with the bringing in of outside workers than with
the wages these workers received—30 to 50 percent below industry
standards—and what this could mean for future work for area
This practice “undermined area workers trying to make a living.
. . . We cannot [make a living] with corporate greed that
hires contractors at the lowest common denominator. We don’t
want corporations lowering our standards of living. Bring
[non-union workers] up to ours,” donVito explained further.
The union members began their Saturday protests on March 6,
and plan to continue throughout the month.
Dynamic Doughnuts Inc. is the franchise owner of Krispy Kreme
stores throughout New York, as well as the majority partner
for the West Palm Beach, Fla., market.
A Krispy Kreme representative said she was not aware of the
company’s “union or nonunion hiring practices” for construction
matters, only that that those employed at Krispy Kreme are
not in a union.
Many customers weren’t deterred by the revelation. “Hot doughnuts
are hard to come by,” said local resident Jeffrey Sansobrino
in defense of his favorite doughnut store. On the other hand,
50 to 75 potential customers decided not to give Krispy Kreme
their business after receiving a flyer, donVito estimated,
adding that the union’s goal was to make the public aware
of the situation rather than take serious business away from
Right, for Unclear Reasons
York state has withdrawn from a multistate anticrime/antiterrorism
database program that has been assailed by civil libertarians
as a threat to privacy, a state official announced last Thursday
[“Spy, Spy Again,” Newsfront, Feb. 12].
According to a March 11 Associated Press report, Lynn Rasic,
a spokesperson for the New York State Office of Public Security,
said that concerns over the continuation of federal funding
and the diminished benefits of remaining in a project in which
the number of states has dwindled spurred New York’s decision
to pull out. Of the 13 states originally involved in the program,
which had received $12 million in grants from the Department
of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice, only five—Michigan,
Ohio, Florida, Connecticut and Pennsylvania—are still sharing
The MATRIX (short for Multistate Antiterrorism Information
Exchange) program had been launched by the Florida Department
of Law Enforcement in conjunction with the Seisint Corp. to
pool the law enforcement and motor vehicle records of several
state governments with commercial data such as property and
civil court records, bankruptcies, liens, and business filings
into a searchable database. The proponents of the effort had
billed it as it potent tool against crime and terrorism, but
critics decried the program as a clandestine attempt to revive
the Pentagon’s disbanded Total Information Awareness project.
In New York state, assemblymen Alexander B. “Pete” Grannis
(D-Manhattan) and William L. Parment (D-Jamestown) condemned
MATRIX as a violation of privacy rights.
think New York recognized that this is a dangerous program
with great potential to invade people’s privacy and violate
their civil liberties,” said Christopher Calabrese, an attorney
with the New York Civil Liberties Union.
Although several states cited privacy concerns as a reason
for dropping out of the program, it is unclear if New York
shared that view. Telephone calls to Lynn Rasic seeking to
clarify this were not returned.
But in a March 9 letter from Lt. Col. Steven Cumoletti of
the New York State Police explaining New York’s reasons for
leaving the project to Matrix chairman Guy Tunnell, who is
also the commissioner of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement,
Cumoletti conveys no such worries. “To date, nearly two-thirds
of the original states have opted out. The uncertainty of
continued funding and the valid concerns about the feasibility
of expanding the project . . . have been the most crucial
reasons provided for withdrawing,” he wrote.
Moreover, further battles over police powers and civil liberties
may lie ahead: Cumoletti states that “the need to provide
law enforcement investigators with improved access to information
and data sources that are legally available to them remains
more critical today than ever before,” and assures Tunnell
that “the New York State Police remain receptive to exploring
other efforts to improve law enforcement information sharing
and to improve the overall capabilities of law enforcement
in our nation.”
Downtown in Turnaround
$12.5 million plan to build a 14-screen cinema in downtown
Schenectady [“Recharging the Electric City,” Jan. 22] is dead.
On Friday, developer Joseph Tesiero announced that he had
ended negotiations with the Schenectady Metroplex Development
Authority, and would no longer be involved with the Diamond
A combination of factors doomed the cinema. There were cost
increases related to construction problems with the site;
new Metroplex chairman Ray Gillen indicated he doubted the
commercial viability of the cinema; and M&T Bank reduced
by $1 million the amount of financing it was were providing.
Tesiero told the Albany Times Union that Metroplex—which
was already contributing more than $5 million to the project—was
unwilling to make up for M&T’s reduced contribution.
Now, Metroplex will looking for someone else to build on the
newly vacant lot. “We’ll be looking at different alternative
uses for that site,” explained Metroplex executive director
Gillen said to the Times Union that he was still in
favor of building movie theaters downtown, but with “far fewer
screens” and in a different location. A cinema with fewer
screens, however, would go against long-term trends in the
exhibition business: The only multiplexes in the Capital Region
with fewer than eight screens are Sony’s Rotterdam Square
6, which recently announced it is exploring plans to renovate
the theaters, and the now-closed Madison Theatre in Albany.
Not everyone is sorry to see the Diamond Cinema plan collapse,
however. Joe De Lorenzo, owner of Scooter’s Sports Café on
State Street, said “this is one of the best pieces of news
Schenectady’s had in a long time.” De Lorenzo was unconvinced
that the theaters would have drawn people downtown, and doesn’t
think that it would have helped his business at all. He is
in favor of retail development, or an idea recently floated
by State Supreme Court Justice Vito Caruso: using the location
for a new county courthouse.
Whatever the ultimate project turns out to be, Lahut said,
the site will be “prepared and available for use by the end