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Trade Unionists Block Midtown Traffic In Fight For Middle Class Wages & Benefits

June 27, 2019

By Joe Maniscalco

Trade unionists take the intersection of E. 55th Street and Madison Avenue to protest CIM Group’s continued use of controversial nonunion contractors.

New York, NY – Members of District Council 16 of the Cement and Concrete Workers and allied supporters briefly shutdown midtown traffic this week, in an ongoing protest against so-called “open shop” development. 

Angry trade unionists fed up with the race to the bottom that so-called “open shop” development creates — broke off their noisy demonstration outside the CIM Group’s E. 55th Street offices on Wednesday afternoon and strode into the nearby intersection at Madison Avenue shortly before 4 p.m.

Traffic is brought to a standstill at the corner of East 55th Street and Madison Avenue.

Cops monitored the temporary blockade but did not make any arrests. Trade unionist were, instead, allowed to leave the intersection after a few minutes and reassemble in front of CIM Group offices at 540 Madison Ave.  

CIM is an LA-based private equity outfit that has become a major player in NYC’s real estate market in recent years, developing the record-setting 1,395-foot condominium tower at 432 Park Avenue and neighborhood-busting Two Bridges development on the Chinatown waterfront. 

Trade unionists have spent months urging CIM to quit hiring nonunion contractors who, in addition to undercutting middle class wages and benefits, have a history of wage theft and worker fatalities.  

Union workers vow to keep the pressure on the CIM Group.

Back in January, Council Member Stephen Levin [D-District 33], called the massive CIM Group development going up at 85 Jay Street in Brooklyn a “major concern” and a source of “fairly frequent” complaints from neighbors. 

Melissa Shetler, political director for Metallic Latherers and Reinforcing Ironworkers Local 46, said that, indeed, the safety record of CIM’s contractors should be troubling and concerning for local residents.” 

“This is not the type of development or the type of contractor that we should be allowing in New York City,” Shetler told LaborPress. “The exploitation of vulnerable workers is something that we’re supposed to be standing up against.”

On Wednesday, Mike Arena, District Council 16 organizer told LaborPress that all the rallies and demonstrations are beginning to have an impact.  

“I think it’s gonna work; he said. “We’ve got to keep our foot on the pedal; we can’t stop now.”

June 27, 2019

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