Labor practice complaints in Straus-owned nursing homes prompting protest outside LPC over UES townhouse plans

October 17, 2011 06:41PM

Nursing home caregivers and theater performers will conduct a
satirical street theater performance outside of a Landmarks
Preservation commission hearing at 1 Centre Street tomorrow afternoon,
to call attention to what they say are unfair labor practices at
nursing homes owned by developer Daniel Straus. The LPC tomorrow will be
considering a proposal for a development project by Straus’ company
JZS Madison to convert six Upper East Side brownstones the firm purchased from the Whitney Museum of American Art into luxury condominiums.

Caregivers will be outside the hearing to call on Straus to put people
before corporate greed, according to a statement released by 1199SEIU
United Healthcare Workers East and the New England Health Care Employees Union. Several nursing home workers are
scheduled to testify at the hearing, as well.

According to the Landmarks Preservation Commission agenda, there is an
application to tear down a row house on Madison Avenue and make modifications
to others. The houses are at 933 to 943 Madison Avenue and 31 to 33 East
74th Street in the Upper East Side Historic District.

Nursing homes run by Straus such as Care One and Health
Bridge, both based in New Jersey, have been subject to several federal Unfair Labor Practice
Complaints issued by the National Labor Relations Board, including for
unlawfully firing caregivers, for firing housekeepers and then
rehiring them at lower wages, and for bad-faith bargaining in
negotiations, according to the union.

Kathleen Cudahy, a spokesperson for Straus, declined to comment on the protest plans.

The performance will begin at Zuccotti Park, which has been the center
of Occupy Wall Street demonstrations in the past weeks, before the protesters move to 1 Centre Street.

Performers dressed in colorful suits will conduct the satirical street
theater performance tomorrow, some wearing signs that read, “I am the 1 percent.”

The Whitney sold the properties to JZS Madison for $95 million last
year. 

— Miranda
Neubauer