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Photo By: 
Paul Frederiksen

Walenta’s Williamsburg Nightmare

Non-union Two Trees Mgt. has racked up over $50k in OSHA fines for at least 5 major safety violations over the last 5 years in Brooklyn

Brian Young's picture
Jan 14, 2016

For over a decade, the Domino’s sugar factory sat vacant in Williamsburg.  While the waterfront property was vacant, the site was in the middle of a very public fight over what to do with the space.  Developer Jed Walentas and his firm Two Trees Management wanted to turn the property into high end housing that would help lead the way in the increasingly gentrified neighborhood.  Mayor De Blasio saw this development as a way to get some of the promised affordable housing units built. Through a very public media war a compromise was reached.  Some units would be affordable, some would be high end, it would seem like the perfect compromise, expect that they forgot the workers. 

Now nearly a year after ground was broken on the project, the Carpenters Union is making waves as they are taking part in a very public campaign to same Two Trees Management for refusing to hire union carpenters.  Instead, Two Trees decided to go with RNC Industries, a non-union contractor with a history of safety violations. RNC is so bad that, according to OSHA, they have racked up over $50,000 in fines for at least 5 major safety violations over the last five years. According to Newsday, “The company used damaged support beams, failed to properly erect a support system and failed to inspect that system for defects after one of its workers fell about 15 feet after stepping on a damaged beam.”

They are also the subject of a class action lawsuit, brought against them by their employees, for failing to pay the workers.  According to the lawsuit, the employees would routinely work 80-85 hours a week, but instead of getting paid overtime, they had 2 hours a day deducted from their pay.  They also alleged that RNC refused to provide accurate wage statements to their employees. 

With such a bad company hired to do the work, the District Council of Carpenters is going on the offensive.  They have come out with a set of digital ads alleging that the Walentas’ have put profits and felons over safety and good paying jobs.  Click here to learn how to help out the campaign.

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