Places that Matter

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Electchester

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Martha Cooper
Martha Cooper
Martha Cooper
Cooperative housing development resulting from the joint effort of a union and management
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Place Matters Profile

Electchester is neither New York's first union-developed housing development, nor its largest, however it has the distinction of being the only cooperative housing development in New York that represents a joint effort on the part of union and management. It was sponsored by the Joint Industry Board of Electrical Industry.

According to historian Josh Freeman, writing in Working Class New York(2000), "Between 1949 and 1966, five non-profit corporations created by the Joint Industry Board of the Electrical Industry built thirty-eight buildings containing more than 2,400 apartments on a 103-acre site. Members of Local 3 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers got the first chance to buy apartments in the complex, which eventually included a small shopping center, owned by the Joint Industry Board's Pension Committee, and a six-story office building, owned by the Board's Education and Cultural Fund, which housed Local 3, the Joint Board, a public library, a union-sponsored savings bank, a coffee shop, a cocktail lounge, a bowling alley, and a large auditorium used for union, industry, and community functions."