By Heather Holland
Members of the Painters Union District 9 were protesting outside of the Stuyvesant Town Leasing Office at First Avenue, between 14th and 15th Streets, this morning. The large group of about 50, included members from several other trade unions including Teamsters, Bridge Painters, Glazers and Paper Hangers.
The demonstrators handed out flyers which indicated that Rose Associates was cutting the union workers’ wages and benefits by 50 percent. They made quite a ruckus outside the complex, blowing whistles and shouting from a megaphone. The group chanted, “We are the union, the mighty, mighty union!”
Some Stuyvesant Town residents shared their opinions as they observed the protestors from outside the barricades.
“It’s appalling how they’re screwing over these workers,” said Michael Hirsch, a long-time resident of Stuy Town. “They do very good work. There has to be a better way to save the company money than to take it out on hardworking people.”
“We’ve been here for 20 years,” said Lee Levin, a Stuy Town resident. “They have done well by us. I have never felt uncomfortable letting painters into my home when I’m not there, but this isn’t the case anymore.”
Rose Associates, however, claims the union workers were demanding a higher rate than what other union workers at the property get. Management noted in a recent e-mailed statement that they offered painters an hourly rate that is in line with the hourly rate paid to other skilled workers on the property.
Photos by Heather Holland