Since mid-April, at the United Metro Energy facility in Brooklyn, a squadron of oil workers has been stationed outside, taking turns to keep men there 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and groceries that are the owners of the company. Seeking better salary and profit from the store.Billionaire, twice-failed mayor candidate, and right-wing shock jock John Cazimatidis..
Workers, a coalition of mechanics, terminal operators and service technicians, chose to strike on April 19 after years of delays in negotiations on a union contract that they resolved to form in 2018. did. It’s available 24 hours a day, 24 hours a day, “said Assaf John, who has been a service technician at the company for 12 years. “I’m here until 3 pm, then some people come at 3 pm and some stay there overnight until morning.”
Catzimatidis called The Daily Beast and told him that the picket line was his first. “I can tell you that I’ve been a New Yorker for 70 years and have never been on strike for 51 years in business. Contrary to what you’re hearing, we never refuse to sit down. It was, “he said. “I am always available.”
However, executives and frequent political donors say their wealth amounts to about $ 2.8 billion. Forbes, Was clever about labor demand in the past. (Neither United Metro Energy nor its parent company, Red Apple Group, responded immediately to requests for comment.)
In 2015, the CEO of Gristedes dropped the opportunity to buy New York. Daily news, Most Because of the paper pension system.. Two years earlier, he was ordered to pay more than $ 8 million in statutory costs in court and repay the Glistedes worker who sued him for unpaid overtime. Report news..At the hearing, Cazimatidis Appeared reportedly I’m over 2 hours late.
On Wednesday, Teamsters Local 553 union representatives will meet with United Metro for another round of negotiations. Due to the pandemic, negotiations have been zoomed in for the past year, many of which were attended by Cazimatidis himself.
Local executive officer Demos Demopoulos said The Daily Beast is unlikely to have a quick solution. At the end of last month, United Metro filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board regarding unfair labor practices. Around the same time, about 150 union members attended the protest rally.
“They have been on strike for 15 days now,” Demopoulos said. “We hope we are moving forward, but one of the obstacles is that the company refuses to pay industry standards.”
Workers on strike earn 50% less than their union’s peers and haven’t raised their salaries for three years, Demopoulos said. Andre Soleyn, a fuel terminal operator who spent five years at the company, said he earned $ 20.50 per hour when the industry standard for his position fluctuated between $ 36 and $ 38 per hour. Some of his colleagues were just above the state’s minimum wage of $ 15.
Unlike employees of other companies in the retail oil business, United Metro workers do not have a pension plan. John told The Daily Beast that he rarely finds a doctor who accepts health and dental insurance. “They usually say,’Oh, we don’t know about this insurance,'” he said. “I don’t know how we are supposed to survive. Everything is rising and not profitable.”
On the first day of the strike, Sorin, a prominent figure in the efforts of the union organization, was informed in a letter that he had “permanently replaced.” Two other workers also received a similar letter, Demopoulos said. The letter indicated that workers could only return home if they were more than a year away from the end of the strike.
Cazimatidis admits that he hired a replacement worker (also known as a scab), but despite their letter saying, a long-time employee was fired. Insisted that it didn’t mean that. “The word’permanent exchange’is fictitious,” he said. “If you switch people, you still have to run your business. Normally, there is a 99.9% chance that all older people will return to work once the problem is resolved.”
Catsimatidis has cut out a prominent figure in New York’s business world as CEO of Manhattan-based Gristedes and with positions from a variety of other companies, including United Metro’s parent company, Red Apple Group. In 2009 and 2013, he ran as a Republican candidate for the Mayor of New York on a fairly unique platform. One political ad attacking Joe Rota, who is the opponent of the 2013 primary, says Catzimatidis “loves cats, dogs and all animals” while Rota “has no heart”. I’m proud of it.
In 2019, he purchased the conservative radio station WABC, home to many right-wing figures like Curtis Sliwa, and a syndicate of the shows Brian Kilmead, Mark Levine, and Ben Shapiro.For years, Cazimatidis had his own show at the station Cats Roundtable Meeting, Aired interviews with guests like Rudolph Giuliani, and As one press release put it, “John’s unique view of news affecting New York.”
His view of the strike was almost confusing. “I don’t know why this time around,” he said on the phone. “Yes, there is a theory, but I can’t legally talk about it.”
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