Saturday, October 1, 2011

Rats Infest Ridgewood Over Labor Union Dispute

Carpenter's union protested with large inflatable rats outside of general contractor's Ridgewood home Thursday morning

By James Kleimann

A New York City labor fight moved to the tree-lined streets of Ridgewood Thursday when members of a New York carpenter's union placed two large inflatable rats in front of the home of a rival union member.

Police were dispatched Thursday morning to the Woodside Avenue home of Terrence Higgins, a general contractor, after complaints of the over 15-foot-tall rats towering above the West Side street.
The dispute stems from the New York City District Council of Carpenters (NYCDC) alleging that Higgins is a member of rival union United Service Workers Union (USWU) and is not paying the "appropriate" benefits and wages to carpentry workers he's employed for New York building projects.

NYCDC representative Michael Donnelly said Higgins and the USWU are intruding on the NYCDC's turf while not paying wages and benefits up to standards set by the department of labor.

The NYCDC claims it isn't "one union versus the other" but rather a "wage dispute," though it's not the first time the two unions have tangled. Donnelly said the NYCDC is fighting for the welfare of the rival union members.

"If they were paying these carpenters the area standards and benefits they were supposed to be, there wouldn't be a dispute at all," Donnelly said.

Higgins did not respond to requests for comment. The United Service Workers Union also did not return requests for comment.

Donnelly said the inflatable rat demonstration was designed to get the attention of Higgins. The NYCDC told Patch it would not rule out returning with more rats to Woodside Avenue in the future.
Police told the NYCDC members the rats could not remain on the street, as they presented a safety issue for motorists. The rats were deflated and removed. No summonses were issued.


  1. John - can you post the USWU Wage & Benefit Rate this Higgins character is paying.

    So it seems other Unions are into Trade Raiding too - nice!

  2. So it seems other Unions are into Trade Raiding too - nice!

    Just curious. Do you believe that just because some UBC rat told you it was the truth that it is true??

    Based on how the UBC steals from your pocket and has crushed your democratic rights do you feel the UBC was there because they were really concerned with the workers wages.

    Based on the UBC raiding how many rats should be at Spencer,McCarron and Capelli and Ballantynes houses. Do you think they make enough rats to cover it



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