LOCAL 30 CHARGES IMPROPER CONDUCT BY HUDSON RIVER PARK TRUST
Maintenance and Operations workers fighting for union recognition at Hudson River Park claim beleaguered Park Trust President Connie Fishman's costly anti-union crusade has now gone from merely unethical to blatantly illegal.
An improper conduct charge filed with the New York State Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) this week claims Trust management has harassed employees that signed a petition demanding the Trust recognize International Union of Operating Engineers Local 30 as their Collective Bargaining Representative and directing the Trust to immediately enter into contract negotiations.
The petition was a response to the Park's continued refusal to recognize Local 30 as their Collective Bargaining Representative. Three times during the past year M&O employees have met the PERB criteria to establish union recognition, but each time the Trust delayed recognition with objections and challenges.
Park employees loudly declared "Union Yes" when the union won an April 19th recognition election. In a May 14th e-mail message Hudson River Park Trust President Connie Fishman assured its Advisory Council the Trust “we have never had any intention of engaging in a protracted, expensive legal fight over the outcome of the vote", even though the Park had already filed a challenge to the election result. The challenge claimed the rules the Trust had agreed to prior to the election, to protect the integrity of the ballots and prevent fraud, should not apply after all. When PERB Public Employment Practices and Representation Director Monte Klein rejected the Trust's challenge, the Trust again dismissed its assurance to the Advisory Council and filed an objection to the Director's decision.
On December 29th of last year, at Ms. Fishman's request, the Trust's Board of Directors approved an additional $150,000 for "Labor and Employment Law Consultation," services of Bond, Schoeneck and King, bringing the total appropriation for the firm to $350,000. The request included no mention of the "union avoidance" training and consultation advertised on the firm's website. While "union avoidance" is commonly recognized as a code name for union busting, the firm's activity at Hudson River Park has coincided with Local 30's organizing activity and the Park's tactics and rhetoric regarding unionization are consistent with that routinely employed by established anti-union consultants, Ms. Fishman insists that the firm is retained for reasons other than an aggressive campaign of misinformation and intimidation.
Battle brewing in Hudson River union bid New York Daily News - November 3, 2010 - By Lisa Coangelo
Hudson River Park Trust Fights Employees' Vote to Join Union DNAinfo - October 27, 2010 - By Gabriela Resto-Montero
Hudson River Park Trust Spends Park Money To Fight Union Drive By 16 Employees West View - June 8 2010 - by Zachary Black