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Operating engineers protest arena ribbon-cutting, saying Ratner affiliate has failed to negotiate

Photo by Tracy Collins
About two dozen members of the International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 30, gathered this morning outside the Barclays Center, for an informational protest, not asking anyone to honor a picket line.

Union business rep Bill Lynn said members work at other sports facilities and entertainment venues and manage machinery such as refrigeration equipment, but the arena has refused to negotiate with the union. About 20 jobs are at stake.

"They're looking to try and hire workers and not talk to the union that would represent them," Lynn said, adding that he didn't know whether the workers would be non-union or represented by a different union.

"What they're looking to do is offer substandard wages and benefits," he posited, suggesting that he didn't even think that Bruce Ratner knew what an offshoot of his company was doing. The union is headquartered in Richmond Hill, Queens, but the majority of the people he brought, said Lynn, were from Brooklyn.

Forest City Ratner spokesman Joe DePlasco, asked to comment, stated,"My understanding, is that it is a jurisdictional dispute between a union that is working inside and one that would like to work inside."

Video by Jonathan Barkey