New York, NY – After a hot summer demonstrating against billionaire developer Stephen Ross and so-called “open-shop” development at Hudson Yards, members of the #CountMeIn campaign are vowing to turn up the heat heading into this year’s Labor Day Parade on September 8.
“Mark my words – we will not lose this fight. We will win,” #CountMeIn organizer Bernard Callegari told a thunder & lightning fueled rally outside Ross’ Columbus Circle offices on Tuesday afternoon.
Hudson Yards developers, including Stephan Ross — billionaire owner of the Miami Dolphins — sparked the #CountMeIn campaign last fall, when they announced their plan to bring in non-union labor for the next phase of the massive West Side construction project.
“Stephen Ross didn’t know what he was getting involved in,” Local 7 Tile, Marble & Terrazzo Union member Joseph Jacona told LaborPress. “He wants to make a statement that he wants to be the guy that crushed the New York City unions. But he’s going to go down as the guy who created #CountMeIn. And he’s going to go down as the guy who brought solidarity to the Building Trades.”
Callegari dismissed reports that the Carpenters Union has successfully cut a deal with Ross’ Related development team to work on Phase Two of the Hudson Yards project.
“It’s bullshit — there’s no deal,” Callegari said. “All [Ross] is doing is making it worse for himself. Let’s see how long it takes to do that job without organized labor. This is going to be the longest project in New York City history.”
As the rains poured down and lighting cut across the sky, trade unionists decried fat cat developers sitting up in their “towers and suits” making millions of dollars off the “sweat and tears” of working class men and women who will see their middle class lives disappear with the spread of so-called “open-shop” development.
“We’ve got a little surprise for New York City during the Labor Day Parade,” Callegari said — forecasting more potent protests and acts of civil disobedience coming as early as next Wednesday afternoon outside 345 Park Avenue, home of Deutche Bank, the Blackstone Group and the National Football League, among other power brokers.
“We are going to go out there and we’re going to take the streets and we need as many people to support [us] as we can,” Callegari said.