Unless a last-minute breakthrough occurs in stalled contract talks, 350 cabinetmakers and wood installers will go on strike — affecting about a dozen commercial construction sites around New York City.
The carpenters union in New York plans to put the screws to a group of construction contractors by walking off job sites Monday, the Daily News has learned.
Unless a last-minute breakthrough occurs in stalled contract talks, 350 cabinetmakers and wood installers will go on strike — affecting about a dozen commercial construction sites around the city.
“We made them an offer they can live with, and they made us an offer we have to refuse,” said Stephen McInnis, president of the District Council of Carpenters, which represents Local 2790.
Projects at 4 World Trade Center, the General Motors building on Fifth Avenue and 59th Street and the Time Warner building at Columbus Circle will halt if the workers go on strike, along with many others.
The union’s been trying to hammer out a deal with the Manufacturing Woodworkers Association for more than a year, McInniss said.
The Association wants the high-end cabinetmakers and wood installers of Local 2790 to agree to a 10-year wage freeze at the current rate of $31.24, as well as greatly reduced benefits.
McInnis said the union agreed to a 10-year-deal with wage negotiations possible in the third and seventh years — but it wouldn’t budge on benefits.
“I need a proposal I can get ratified. If I went to the membership with this, it wouldn’t pass,” he said.
The MWA wants to cap benefit contributions at 40 hours a week so it would no longer have to make pension, vacation and health care contributions on overtime pay.
McInnis said it was not fair to retroactively change the benefits structure for workers already on the job — although the union is open to making changes for new hires.
“Some of these guys have 15, 20 or 30 years on the job, you can’t go in now and fundamentally change how their benefits accrue,” he said.
The 350 members of Local 2790 voted Thursday night to go out on strike if necessary.
Lawyers for the MWA tried to obtain an emergency temporary restraining order against the union over the weekend, but a judge denied their request.
The District Council said it would alert its other construction locals to the problems with MWA.
“This will be an economic strike, and I anticipate a very favorable response among our members,” McInnis said.