- Hudson Yards Construction (HYC), the building arm of developer Related Cos., has filed a lawsuit against the Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York (BCTC) and its chief Gary LaBarbera claiming that they are trying to interfere with the supply of concrete to a project at New York City's $25 billion Hudson Yards development through intimidation and "thuggish tactics," according to court documents filed May 5. This is the second legal action launched by HYC against the trade organization in the last two months.
- In the latest suit, HYC alleged that BCTC members working for concrete supplier Ferrara Brothers refused to make deliveries to the 3-million-square-foot 50 Hudson Yards high-rise project, forcing foundation contractor New Leaf Development to use a non-union concrete supplier, Brooklyn Ready Mix Corp. (BRM), instead. HYC claimed that BCTC members and associated individuals have since picketed the project, attempted to block BRM's access to the site, tried to keep trucks from leaving BRM's facilities and have slashed BRM truck tires, all part of a campaign to hinder progress at 50 Hudson Yards.
- HYC claims that BCTC-driven interference in the project has led to increased costs, as well as delay claims from other trades, loss of rents and other financial damages. In a statement on the BCTC website, the organization claimed that the lawsuit is "full of assertions with no foundation or basis," and that Related, through the HYC legal action, is trying to malign the city's trade unions and their members.
This is the latest round in a legal battle between Related and the BCTC, which was kicked off by a March lawsuit that claimed the developer lost $100 million to questionable work practices by some unions party to the project labor agreement (PLA) negotiated by the BCTC for the first phase of work at Hudson Yards. Related's filing sought to prevent those unions from being part of a new PLA. The BCTC has filed complaints against Related with the National Labor Relations Board for alleged union-busting activity.
Joining in the legal fray last month was New York City's Metal Lathers Local 46 and other union funds, which filed a lawsuit against New Leaf claiming that the company was formed, with the encouragement of Related, in order to sidestep union labor requirements at Hudson Yards.
This back and forth between Related and the BCTC is playing out against the backdrop of a larger struggle in New York City that has seen a greater share of construction work go to nonunion contractors as developers seek to lower costs. For example, The New York Times reported that politically connected contractors, exorbitant union pay rates and unchecked consultant markups have driven construction costs up to the point that it is more expensive to take on subway projects in New York City than anywhere else in the world.