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Central Park Boathouse Workers On Strike

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Central Park Boathouse Restaurant The Central Park Boathouse Restaurant (Supermac1961/Flickr)

On Tuesday at noon, approximately 60 hospitality workers at the Central Park Boathouse Restaurant walked out or failed to come in for their shifts, protesting alleged abuses by restaurant owner Dean Poll. The workers also said they would be on strike on Wednesday night.

The workers claim that Poll has broken federal labor laws by repeatedly harassing, intimidating, and firing workers for attempting to unionize. They say they will continue to picket the restaurant during dining hours every night until owners accept a union contract.

Although workers walked out for the first time on Tuesday, the labor dispute at the Central Park restaurant has been ongoing for some time. Last February, the Hotel Trades Council, a hospitality union working with Boathouse employees, filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board (N.L.R.B.), the federal entity responsible for investigating unfair labor practices. The N.L.R.B. is currently investigating more than 10 complaints that the Hotel Trades Council has filed against Poll.

Poll, however, has another story to tell.

"While The Boathouse management respects the employees who came to work and walked off the job, this walkout is yet another vindictive tactic by Hotel Trades Council President Peter Ward," said David Weissman, Mr. Poll's attorney.

According to Weissman, the walk-out is part of a larger story relating to the closure of the Tavern on the Green in 2009.

"[Ward] wrongly blames Dean Poll for the fact that Tavern on the Green remains closed," Weissman said. "In truth, it was Ward who was unwilling to agree on a contract -- thus costing 400 Tavern employees their jobs."

The Hotel Trades Council has called for the city's Department of Parks and Recreation to cancel Poll's contract to operate the restaurant. Several city politicians have joined the fray and sided with the union, including Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, both mayoral hopefuls in the 2013 race.

"I think the city has an obligation here and we hope that Commissioner of Parks Adrian Benepe does the right thing and intervenes to tell Dean Poll that an operator on city property can't get away with this kind of stuff," said Charlotte Hall, a union representative at the Hotel Trades Council.

Parks department officials said they were still discussing the dispute and that they had no further comment at press time. Officials said that the city had received over $3 million in licensing fees from the Boathouse in 2010.

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Comments [5]

Pat M.M. W.

Hey Davey G. from Brooklyn, lol. Just shows how stupid you are, you can't even read.....LOL....I said that I ATTENDED a wedding, I wasn't the bride, geeez, get a grip on yourself. And I'll say it again, it was a once in a life time for this bride and groom and they/you ruined it. The people attending not only this wedding that I was at, but others deserve, yes DESERVE to be taken care of in a proper way. You can't just CANCEL a wedding and tell all your guest that it's CANCEL because of a bunch of WAITERS, geeez. The cost of the Boat House, the invitations, the flowers, are you kidding me, cancel it !! Have some common sense, oh wait you don't have any, you can't even read, lol. Don't give me the rant that their Union either, there are alot of other people and places that are union workers and they don't act like idiots at someone's wedding that is plan for months and years ahead of time. Hey if the conditions were and are that bad, what the heck are they fighting for then, go find another job somewhere else...maybe at a classy place like.....oh McDonalds in your case, roflmao, that's about how classy your attitude is....As far as HARASSED, there are laws for that and it's not a union law, so I'm taking it that you have proof that you or someone else was harassed, then do something about it, don't stand on some side line and shout with a rat hanging over your head. I'll say it again....they/you could have waited until the guest and bride walked into the wedding/reception area. Anyone with common sense or a brain, or someone that is being harrassed should look somewhere else for a job. Oh and one last thing, those workers that went over the picket line....DID A FANTASTIC JOB and the food was FANTASTIC also. Hopefully by now you are confortable at your new job at McDonalds.............

Sep. 20 2011 10:59 PM
Dave Giglio from Brooklyn

@Pat M. - Your "once in a lifetime day" is these workers every day, day in, day out getting harassed and payed lousy wages. Get a grip on yourself.

Your once in a lifetime day isn't worth a lifetime of crummy conditions for the workers at the boathouse. If you had and self respect, you'd have canceled your event, and demanded your money back from Dean Poll, who scheduled your event full well knowing there was a problem at his business. It's him you should blame for ruining your day and ripping you off, not these workers struggling to get some basic rights.

Aug. 26 2011 01:56 PM
Stan Squires from vancouver,canada

I wanted to say that i supports the workers strike at Boathouse Restaurant in New York.All workers should have the right to a union.Without a union they are no better than slaves.The working conditions at this restaurant are very bad indeed.All progressive people and unions in New York should support these workers.

Aug. 22 2011 01:18 PM
Pat M. M. W.

Wow, I just recently attended a wedding at the boat house. You strikers couldn't get any lower than you are now and you all deserve to be fired. You act like a bunch of idiots and ruined a life time dream of a bride and groom. How could you be so low?
Seriously, it's a ONCE IN A LIFE TIME DAY AND YOU AND YOUR RAT ruined it. I wish I could get all your names and attend your weddings and have a large rat floating in the air and yell and scream at the guests arriving. Your horrible people and have no class. You could have stood there quietly until the guests arrived and went inside, especailly the bride. But no, you show just how low you really are and that's all you'll amount to, is someone that picks up dirty dishes and attends to their beck and call. Act like a responsible person and talk this out, stop acting like idiots.

Aug. 19 2011 09:05 PM
ryland from ny

the food isn't even that great here for the price. workers deserve rights! someone's gotta fight for them..

Aug. 11 2011 08:02 PM

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