Did the Carpenters Sell Out #CountMeIn?
The national union has signed a deal with the developer breaking the months long boycott against Hudson Yards in NYC
New York City Building and Construction trade members have made a stand against greedy developers who seek to undercut their jobs. At Hudson Yards, a massive development just west of Penn Station, union tradesmen have spent months protesting the developer Related. Their movement, known as Count Me In, has gotten media attention and even got members of the Building Trades Council sued.
Even with legal threats, the locals stood strong and refused to cross the line, essentially shutting down work on the second part of the project. Their demand is simple, sign a Project Labor Agreement (PLA) that would lay out the guidelines for work on the project and ensure that Hudson Yards is built with the best labor New York City has to offer.
All of the unions stood strong, until this week when the United Brotherhood of Carpenters decided to overrule their local and sign an agreement with Related. While many reasons were given, including the company declaring this deal as a “progressive partnership,” many saw it as a betrayal. Here is what the New York City Building and Construction Trades Council had to say:
While Related claims to have ‘pulled off a strategic coup’ against the Building Trades, there is actually nothing new here and this is simply another press stunt. Related has no loyalty and is using the carpenters as a public relations pawn to engage in union busting.
Here are the facts: Related is using nonunion carpenters on several projects within blocks of Hudson Yards. Furthermore, Related and the Carpenters’ national leadership have been in direct negotiations for a long time due to the Carpenters’ enormous pension investment in the project. Related has shamelessly leveraged the Carpenters’ financial interest in the Hudson Yards project to its own advantage on the labor relations front and these divisive tactics will not stand. Related’s agreement with the national Carpenters does not give them what they need, a skilled labor force beyond carpentry that can build the project. The national leadership of the Carpenters completely ignores the local resistance to Related’s underhanded and oppressive tactics. That resistance, known as the #CountMeIn movement, in which rank and file carpenters participate, has grown in direct response to the disrespect Related has shown for the union construction worker.
While the carpenter's national leadership may have come to an agreement with Related, union members that have taken part in the #CountMeIn movement are vowing to keep up the fight until Related signs a PLA with all of the unions doing work on the project.