After a year of fighting at Hudson Yards, Related and the unions are talking again

Beal and LaBarbera have met at least twice, memo claims

TRD New York /
Feb.February 15, 2019 07:00 AM

Gary LaBarbera, Bruce Beale Jr., and the Hudson Yards (Credit: Getty Images and iStock)

After more than a year of mudslinging and name-calling, it seems Related Companies and the Building and Construction Trades Council have returned to the negotiating table.

In the past two weeks, BCTC president Gary LaBarbera and Related president Bruce Beal Jr. have met at least twice to discuss their ongoing dispute over labor at Hudson Yards. A memo provided to The Real Deal that was sent out by the president of the North America’s Building Trades Unions last week indicates that the two met on Feb. 6, the second face-to-face discussion in one week.

The memo also states that the protests organized by the “Count Me In” campaign outside Hudson Yards have been scaled back as a sign of good faith.

LaBarbera and Related declined to comment.

“I remain optimistic that as long as we maintain our position and now allow this process of direct engagement with Related to progress, the situation can be resolved satisfactorily in the near future,” NABTU president Sean McGarvey wrote in the memo.

It’s unclear exactly what a deal would look like given the acrimony between the two parties. Related has said it will not sign another project labor agreement with the union group. The Count Me In campaign’s protests, which have raged outside Hudson Yards and Related’s headquarters regularly since at least late 2017, and twitter account have repeatedly vilified chairman Steve Ross and his company.

The union group is opposed to the developer’s use of nonunion labor at 50 Hudson Yards and the western portion of the megadevelopment. Last year, Related filed a lawsuit against the BCTC and LaBarbera, alleging that the union’s labor policies drove up costs at Hudson Yards by more than $100 million. Their fighting has largely been seen as turning point in a broader conflict between union and nonunion labor in New York. Nonunion firms have been on the rise and eaten into union market share, especially in the residential sector.

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