The New York City construction worker protest scheduled for 3/15 been officially cancelled, as CountMeIn leaders announced on March 8th that a deal had been reached. In a statement released on their facebook and twitter, CountMeIn leaders stated that abandoning the way of “strife” for a more “peace(ful)” method “is the best for the future of our industry and our unions.” The statement also commended the “commitment of rank and file activist(s) that showed up and made their voices heard.”
The statement received mixed reactions from rank and file members of the movement on the facebook post announcing the decision, with many commenters stating their dedication to protest on March 15th regardless, and to see a contract that guarantees 100% union labor in opposition to the open shop model creeping into New York City.
A construction worker in the movement shared a statement we publish on the condition of anonymity. In it, the worker praised the journey the CountMeIn movement has undertaken, moving from demonstrations of “fifty people” to “tens of thousands.” The worker declared their trust in “union organizers whom I have seen fight tooth and nail for us, many of whom I was arrested alongside while fighting for the cause.” They expressed their vigilance as well, saying “If the negotiations don’t go as hoped I’ll be ready to hit the streets,” concluding ultimately that the long-term strength and takeaway from the CountMeIn movement has always been “moving together even when we don’t agree on everything.” As the CountMeIn movement enters a new stage, the construction worker urged fellow CountMeIn activists and labor activists to “never lose sight of the longer war” against open shop and anti-union “rat businesses.” Despite frustration with the recent deal, the worker also underlined how that longer war will be waged by labor veterans who have been ” taught… how to think, how to fight, in this struggle.” The full statement is attached below.
“A lot of people are asking me about 3/15. The posts on the official Count Me In page have already said it. But as of now there is no rally occurring on that day. In all my years as an activist I have never seen a movement last so long, sustaining weekly rallies and growing from fifty people to tens of thousands. Because of the power we have shown for a year and a half, Related Companies is now negotiating with the Building Trades. I trust the seasoned organizers whom I have seen fight tooth and nail for us, many of whom I was arrested alongside while fighting for the cause. If the negotiations don’t go as hoped I’ll be ready to hit the streets, but our strength has always been in moving together even when we don’t agree on everything.
The movement to beat back open shop and take back our entire industry from non union employers doesn’t stop with the Hudson Yards; these rat businesses are exploiting non union labor all throughout the outer boroughs, and fighting to take away hard earned rights like prevailing wage, safety rules, etc. The Hudson Yards battle has already taught many of us how to think, how to fight, in this struggle.
We need to be ready to take that energy to wherever this abomination called open shop is. Be ready to fight at a moments notice, but never lose sight of the longer war over one battle.”
We will keep reporting on this struggle as it develops on March 15th and beyond.