EAST FLATBUSH — After a 16-month lockout, 70 workers returned to work this week at Flatbush Gardens, a massive housing complex in East Flatbush.
A federal district court ruled against the owners of the complex, Renaissance Equity Holdings and its principal David Bistricer, and ordered them to end the lockout and go back to the bargaining table, according to Hector Figueroa, secretary-treasurer of the building service union 32BJ, representing the workers.
“Today we stand tall on our way back to work. We won one battle but the war is not over,” said Figueroa. “We will continue fighting at the [National Labor Relations Board] NLRB and at the bargaining table for what is fair for the Flatbush Gardens workers and tenants: a fair contract with wages and benefits that support our families.”
Renaissance Equity allegedly was insisting on proposals to cut wages and benefits by more than 30 percent and to gain the right to lay off the entire workforce, according to 32BJ. In 2010, the union filed unfair labor practice charges against Renaissance, asserting that “the lockout was unlawful” and that Renaissance had “engaged in bad faith bargaining.”
According to Figueroa, the harms caused by the lockout were determined to be egregious and irreparable, so the NLRB authorized its New York City office to file an injunction petition under Section 10(j) of the National Labor Relations Act to end the lockout and reinstate the workers.