Construction company Trade Off accuses union of conspiring to put it out of business

Company is embroiled in multiple legal battles with Local 79

New York /
Oct.October 26, 2018 07:06 PM

520 West 30th Street (credit: nyconstructionphoto.com)

Nassau-based Trade Off has accused a construction union of conspiring to put the company out of business, in part, by rewarding current and former employees who file “frivolous” complaints against it.

The nonunion company filed a lawsuit against Local 79 this month claiming that the construction and general laborers union pressured its current and former employees to file various complaints against the company. The suit also claims that a union organizer instructed employees to create unsafe working conditions then report the issues to the press and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

In exchange, according to the lawsuit, these employees were able to bypass the union’s waitlist to enroll in its apprenticeship program and become full-fledged members of Local 79. The resulting ongoing legal disputes, which have to be disclosed when Trade Off bids on work, has cost the company more than $20 million in jobs, according to the complaint. The lawsuit notes that nearly two dozen complaints were listed in its failed bid for Kushner Companies, LIVWRK, and CIM Group’s 85 Jay Street.

Tamir Williams Rosenblum, general counsel for Local 79, said the lawsuit is merely an attempt to derail the union’s ongoing cases against the company before the National Labor Relations Board. He said he’s confident Trade Off’s lawsuit will “go nowhere.”

In a series of cases before the NLRB, which were consolidated in June, the union and various employees allege that Trade Off illegally discouraged and in some cases, threatened employees who supported Local 79 and discussed work conditions at Related Companies 520 West 30th and 264 West streets.

Last year, two Trade Off employees accused male supervisors and peers of sexual harassment. In one of the complaints filed with the Federal Equal Employment Opportunity, Ashley Foster alleged that Trade Off’s foreman at Related’s 55 Hudson Yards repeatedly exposed his genitals to her while they were working on the site.

The various disputes between Local 79 and Trade Off come as a larger conflict rages on at Hudson Yards. The Building and Construction Trades Council has held a series of protests against Related for its use of nonunion labor at the megadevelopment. Related and the Real Estate Board of New York have previously singled Local 79 out as instigators of the protests.


Related Articles

arrow_forward_ios
Rendering of 300 Huntington Street (Monadnock Development, iStock)
No parking? No problem for Monadnock project in Gowanus
No parking? No problem for Monadnock project in Gowanus
Mayor Bill de Blasio (Getty, iStock)
NYC to revive $17B in public construction projects
NYC to revive $17B in public construction projects
Homebuilding is largely responsible for the increase in construction spending. (Getty / Photo Illustration for The Real Deal)
Construction spending hits new record in January
Construction spending hits new record in January
133 East Clarke Place (Google Maps, Getty)
Elevator mechanic killed at Bronx building
Elevator mechanic killed at Bronx building
(iStock/Illustration by Kevin Rebong for The Real Deal)
Housing starts fall for first time since August
Housing starts fall for first time since August
This three bedroom house is the first ever home built with 3D printing technology. (Realtor)
“3D-printed” home in Calverton listed at $300K
“3D-printed” home in Calverton listed at $300K
(iStock/Photo Illustration by Kevin Rebong for The Real Deal)
Spending on home construction jumps 21% in December
Spending on home construction jumps 21% in December
Overall, the number of housing units that started construction last year was up 7 percent from 2019. (iStock)
Residential construction had busiest year since 2006: MBA
Residential construction had busiest year since 2006: MBA
arrow_forward_ios

The Deal's newsletters give you the latest scoops, fresh headlines, marketing data, and things to know within the industry.

Loading...