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Count Me In

Ironworkers Ordered to Cross Picket Line in NYC

Elected Business Manager refused to sell out his union and was removed from office

Kris LaGrange's picture
Feb 22, 2019

For the last 16 months, union construction workers in New York City have been holding pickets and rallies outside of the Hudson Yards project on Manhattan’s West Side. New York locals from across the Building Trades have held firm in their promise to not work on the second part of the job unless the developer, Related, signed a project labor agreement. The movement has become known as #CountMeIn.

In August, UCOMM reported that some of that solidarity crumbled when the United Brotherhood of Carpenters overruled their New York City local and signed a deal with Related. Now a second union has broken ranks. The International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental and Reinforcing Iron Workers announced this week that they had reached a deal to work on the project even though their New York City local, Local 46 vehemently opposed the decision. The opposition was so strong that the International decided to take the drastic decision of firing the elected Business Manager, Terry Moore. Additionally, the parent union told all board members that they would need to reapply for their positions.

In a letter, which we have provided below, the International said they had decided “to place Local Union No. 46L … under international supervision and control effective as of February 19, 2019.” They also suspended all membership and executive board meetings.

Anger over the international coming in to overrule the local union was swift. Former President John Skinner took to Twitter to say:

“Just going to say this. Any union organization officials that say you need to cross a picket line are a disgrace to the labor movement. They should be ashamed of themselves. And their members should demand they resign.”

According to sources within the #Countmein movement, the International decided to negotiate the deal behind Local 46’s back. “I can tell you this first hand that not one of the Ironworker Business Managers in New York City were even aware that the deal was being cut,” said Bernard Callegari at this week’s #CountMeIn rally. “When you see your fellow Ironworkers let them know you support them, because their Business Manager got removed (over not crossing a picket line.)”

The Related Company is one of the largest real-estate developers in the country. They are run by Miami Dolphin’s CEO Stephen Ross. The protests have gotten under the skin of Related as well. In an effort to try and stop them, the company sued a number of New York City union leaders, but even court action couldn’t stop this organic member led movement. Now members of the Building Trades are vowing that this action by the Ironworkers will not stop them either.

Read the letter from the Ironworkers below.

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