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Low-wage job protest at Islip Marriott site

The construction site of the future Islip Marriott in Central Islip was the stage for a protest Tuesday where about a dozen critics decried what they call the use of nonunion, nonlocal labor on the site and the kinds of poverty-wage jobs they say will be created at the hotel once it's built.

Briad Development East, the developer for the $17 million project slated for Carleton Avenue and Courthouse Drive, was awarded 15 years of tax breaks worth roughly $2.3 million by the Town of Islip Industrial Development Agency in January. Workers broke ground last month, and the hotel is expected to be finished by July.

When built, the four-story, 125-room hotel will create 30 permanent jobs ranging from maintenance to management, town officials have said, but the workers' rights group Long Island Jobs with Justice says the average wage will be $26,600, citing information obtained from the town. That is much lower than the county's average annual wage of nearly $40,000, Suffolk County Welfare to Work Commission chairman Richard Koubek said.

"Marriott should be ashamed of creating poverty-wage jobs with public dollars," Koubek said.

Briad Development officials did not return calls for comment.

William Mannix, Islip's economic development director, said last year the hotel would not be built without IDA assistance because of the "prohibitive" tax rates in Central Islip, the highest in the town. Community advocates and town officials have crowed about the Islip Marriott, which is seen as a step forward for a community long plagued by crime, a bad reputation and high foreclosure rates.

"Right now there's nothing going on at that property -- this is going to create tax revenue and create jobs," Islip Councilman Steven Flotteron said. "From the extreme of working at McDonald's to being a CEO of a company, there are different jobs that pay different amounts at different levels."

But Ana Sullivan, outreach coordinator for the St. John of God Church in Central Islip that provides assistance for needy families, said at the protest that low-paying jobs should not subsidized with town tax breaks.

"We need more jobs, that's no doubt," Sullivan said. "But we need jobs that pay good, decent salaries [so] people can really afford living here."

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