In a case of the pot calling the kettle black, the “face” of HIV – Magic Johnson – is being called upon by a New York union to offer better health benefits for its workers employed at a luxury condominium he owns in downtown Brooklyn.
SEIU Local 32BJ, representing over 50,000 building service workers in New York, launched a Web site Monday to protest the former NBA basketball star’s use of non-union labor at a Brooklyn condominium building owned by his investment company.
The online site NoMagicHealthCare.org calls attention to workers at One Hanson Place, which was reopened this year following renovations and offers individual condo units for up to $1 million.
Prior to One Hanson Place’s conversion, the cleaning and maintenance workers in the building were 32BJ members earning area standard wages and benefits. The dozen workers currently receive individual health care coverage and are paid the union rate of $18.94 for porters and concierges and $20.19 for handymen. But they are being asked to pay $300 per family member for coverage, a benefit unionized luxury residential building workers in the city get as part of their contract.
The protesting union members plan to follow Johnson around with picket signs during his visit to New York this week as he makes various public appearances to promote a new book.
Meanwhile, Magic participated in a TSA (“Teen Service Announcement”) as an early and passionate supporter of @15, a new teen-led social change platform underwritten by Best Buy to give teens a voice and give them opportunities to direct the company’s philanthropy through the newly-created @15 Fund.
“There were all sorts of chances and times that I could have gotten into trouble, but instead of turning right, I turned left,” Johnson says in his online TSA. “You should dream high, because I’m a big believer that if you don’t dream it, you can’t become it. Life passes you by so fast. So, enjoy the moment. Enjoy the time.”
In addition to serving as the chairman and chief executive officer of Magic Johnson Enterprises (MJE), Johnson is currently vice president and part owner of the Los Angeles Lakers. A version of the @15 TSA will begin airing during Lakers games within the next month.
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