Union workers and elected officials hold protest in Long Island City after developer hires nonunion labor

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Construction workers and local lawmakers gathered outside a Long Island City development site last week and voiced their disapproval of the Durst Organization’s decision to hire a nonunion concrete contractor.

On June 13, Politico reported that members of Local 46 and Local 79 along with Councilmen Jimmy Van Bramer and Costa Constantinides rallied outside of the Queens Plaza Park location at 29-33 41st Ave. after Durst announced they hired RNC Industries for the project. The company is a concrete contractor that is currently involved in several projects in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens.

When completed, the Queens Park Plaza project will be 710 feet tall and have 958 apartment units inside, 300 of which will be affordable housing. According to The Real Deal, the 978,000-square-foot building will be designed by Handel Architects, while Selldorf Architects is responsible for the interior of the building.

At the protest, Van Bramer encouraged Durst to drop RNC from the project and replace them with a “reputable union contractor.”

On Twitter, people who were protesting the Durst Organization’s decision and other projects used the hashtag #CountMeIn in support of fighting for union rights. According to the Count Me In NYC website, it is a moment of “rank and file workers” to fix “broken shop” and fight against “greedy developers.” Van Bramer also took to Twitter and used the hashtag following last week’s protest.

The Real Deal reported that the June 13 protest came after Queens Borough President Melinda Katz wrote a letter to the Durst Organization urging them to hire union labor for the project.

A day after the Queens Plaza Park protest, union workers staged a 6 a.m. protest against Related Companies for hiring nonunion labor to work on the second phase of the Hudson Yards project. Protesters were joined by Councilman Francisco Moya, who represents Queens’ 21st Council District.

According to a newsletter from Moya’s office, the protest was also against the Related Companies’ use of a private investigator to look into a union worker’s criminal past.

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