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Hudson Yards Files Suit Against Union Organization

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

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Even as progress is made on Manhattan's $25 billion Hudson Yards complex, the developer is suing the Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York for allegedly trying to include corrupt unions in the second phase of the project—unions that allegedly swindled the company out of $100 million during phrase one of construction.

Related Cos., the developer behind what is being called the largest private real estate development in the history of the United States, said that while most of the project’s unions operated properly, others did not.

Related Cos. Lawsuit

Hudson Yards Construction LLC, the division of Related Cos. that filed the complaint, alleges that both the union organization and its leader were attempting to prevent “HYC from entering into any agreements with any unions, unless HYC agrees to work with every union."

According to the New York Post, the union’s misconduct inflated the construction costs of Hudson Yards by $100 million. Among the accusations are accounts of senior tradesmen being assigned by the Concrete Workers District Council to menial labor, including “coffee boy” duty, a responsibility usually regulated to the most junior member of a unit. In this instance, the suit claims one of the “coffee boys” was the brother of a high-ranking official. Along with a second “coffee boy,” the individuals charged employees for beverages and food, which made both vendors, rather than the employees they were classified as.

Other allegations in the lawsuit include widespread timesheet fraud, with one worker bringing in $600,000 in annual wages and benefits. Other workers also allegedly inflated their hours by 10 to 20 percent.

The lawsuit states that HYC is justified in deciding that the office building at the Hudson Yards complex would be a project where contracts would be awarded regardless of whether or not the bidder used union or non-union workers.

HYC is seeking at least $75 million in damages in regard to accusations against the BCTC and its president, Gary LaBarbera, for “interference with prospective economic advantage.” HYC is seeking also seekng $200,000 in damages becuse LaBarbera allegedly defamed the company.

The BCTC has not yet seen the lawsuit, according to reports, but a spokesperson for the council said: “This is likely a retaliatory response to a movement in New York City, known as #CountMeIn, protesting open shop and non-union development.”

Hudson Yards Project

Plans for the 28-acre complex include 18,000,000 square feet of commercial and residential space, office towers (10.6 million square feet for offices in total), around 4,000 residential units, a 1,000,000-square-foot retail complex, as well as 14 acres of open space, a space for the arts known as “The Shed,” a school and a hotel.

According to Bloomberg, the complex will be largely built on platform over the Long Island Rail Road train depot, with one of the city’s office tower’s slated to be NYC’s second tallest by its completion in 2019. The same tower is set to become the headquarters for Time Warner Inc.


Tagged categories: Condominiums/High-Rise Residential; Construction; Lawsuits; Urban Planning

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