BROOKLYN NAVY YARD — A month after being told its warehouse operations would be relocating from Brooklyn to New Jersey, workers have filed a complaint against B&H Photo claiming unfair labor practices, their union said.
United Steelworkers says the photo and electronics company announced the move without negotiating with the union over the decision, union spokeswoman Barbara White Stack said.
The union filed the complaint — which names B&H recruiting manager Aaron Schindler and company attorney Richard Greenberg — with the National Labor Relations Board on Monday, she said.
Last month, B&H announced it would shut down its warehouses in Bushwick and the Navy Yard in order to consolidate operations at a massive warehouse in New Jersey.
United Steelworkers was still in the process of negotiating a contract for roughly 300 warehouse employees when the move was announced, a union spokesman told DNAinfo New York last month, calling the move "totally unexpected."
The complaint is aimed at getting the company to remain in New York City, Stack noted.
A representative with B&H told DNAinfo the search for a new location began as early as 2013, before the company started negotiations with the union.
The company was eyeing a location upstate in Chestnut Ridge in October of 2013, according to Crains New York. Warehouse workers voted to unionize in November 2015.
“This is little more than face saving posturing because they know there is no obligation to bargain over a relocation decision if unrelated to labor costs,” B&H spokesman Michael McKeon said in an email.
McKeon noted that all 335 workers are welcome to move to the new 500,000-square-foot facility in Florence Township, New Jersey.
“We provided more than six months notice so the workers and the union can take the steps necessary to make that possible,” the spokesman said.
“It would have been great if we could have found a site right around the corner, but that doesn’t exist.”
The move is slated to take place in the second half of 2017.
The Navy Yard warehouse will become a movie studio once the company leaves, according to the Brooklyn Navy Yard’s Development Corporation.