The DNAinfo archives brought to you by WNYC.
Read the press release here.

Union Workers Back on Job After 6-Month Dispute With Building Owners

By Camille Bautista | September 16, 2015 8:41am
 Union workers at 1711 Fulton St. returned to the job Monday following a settlement with building owners and management.
Union workers at 1711 Fulton St. returned to the job Monday following a settlement with building owners and management.
View Full Caption
DNAinfo/Camille Bautista

BEDFORD-STUYVESANT — Union workers at a Brooklyn complex who accused owners of slashing wages and firing them returned to work Monday following a settlement with building management, union representatives said.

Three maintenance employees and the superintendent were reinstated this week at 1711 Fulton St., a state-subsidized Bed-Stuy apartment complex.

The longtime workers and members of 32BJ SEIU were embroiled in a six-month dispute with the owners and management after they said they were harassed on the job and saw their wages cut by nearly 50 percent in March.

The group said they also lost their benefits and, ultimately, their employment three months later.

32BJ SEIU filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board against owner Vertices Holdings LLC and Shinda Management Corporation and reached a settlement agreement at the start of September.

Under the terms, eight union workers are set to receive a total of more than $100,000 in back pay.

More than 20 replacement workers are also entitled to back pay at union rates, according to 32BJ SEIU reps.

“I feel good, it feels really good,” superintendent Willie Hill said of his return to the job. “I’m happy to be back at work. It’s much better since the union is there, I feel more relieved.”

Hill, 58, who has been working at the complex for more than 30 years, added that the ordeal created stress for him and his wife.

“It was hell. It was so hard,” he said.

“Trying to find out where my next meal was going to be, what’s going to happen to me and my family.”

“But I’d like to thank the union and labor board for standing in my corner and seeing me through. Thank God it worked out for the best.”

Tenants and union representatives rallied in front of the Fulton Street complex over the summer, calling on management to restore the employees’ jobs and benefits.

Workers previously said the issues started after Vertices Holdings LLC took ownership and Shinda assumed management operations in March.

Following a three-month trial period, the group of workers at the site said they were fired.

In court documents, Shinda representatives said the management company only terminated two union workers at the end of the 90-day transition due to unsatisfactory work performances.

Nine union employees were originally on the job when the building was sold, according to a 32BJ SEIU representative. One retired before the new owners took over and another left before the end of the transition period.

Seven campaigned with the union to get their jobs back, the union said. Out of the group, four were reinstated Monday and one is currently on workmen’s compensation, set to return to work after the end of his disability period.

The other two decided to leave their employment at the complex and will accept severance payments, according to the union.

Under the settlement, the owners will also sign a collective bargaining agreement with 32BJ SEIU.

An attorney representing Shinda in the case referred to a clause in the settlement agreement which states that the Vertices Holdings LLC and Shinda Management Corporation “do not admit that they have violated the National Labor Relations Act.”

An attorney for Vertices Holdings LLC could not be immediately reached for comment.

“Justice has been served at 1711 Fulton Street and we’re glad to see that Vertices Holdings has committed to providing good jobs at this building,” said 32BJ Secretary-Treasurer Kyle Bragg. 

“This is a huge win for these workers and for everyone fighting for good jobs and affordable housing for local residents in Bed-Stuy and across our city.”