New York Daily News

Workers Report Union Threats


Daily News Staff Writers


Nonunion employees of a construction firm at the center of Tuesday's massive demonstration said yesterday they're victims of a harassment campaign by union members, and many fear for their safety.

Workers at the controversial Roy Kay Inc. construction site at 54th St. and Ninth Ave. claim union members picketing the midtown locale have threatened them, taken pictures of them and recorded their license plate numbers.

The Roy Kay workers would not give their names, out of fear of retaliation, and they criticized a newspaper that published pictures showing the faces of the nonunion men.

"One person from this job site has had threatening calls to his house, threatening his wife and babies," one of the workers claimed.

The allegation could not be verified. But Roy Kay's attorneys have filed a lawsuit asking a Manhattan Supreme Court judge to bar protesters from picketing the site and threatening workers.

The nonunion men also said they repeatedly had tried to get into the unions and failed, so they eventually took nonunion jobs to feed their families.

"They state we're taking food from their mouths; well, we have our own kids," a construction supervisor said. "We're paid the prevailing wage, and we get full benefits."

The construction unions - and their giant inflatable rat - have maintained a presence outside the Roy Kay site for weeks to protest the award of a $32.6 million contract for construction of a subway control center to the company.

On Tuesday, tens of thousands of workers demonstrating outside the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's headquarters spontaneously broke off and marched toward the site.

Yesterday, pickets outside the site said they considered the nonunion workers to be "scabs" and the New Jersey-based Roy Kay to be a "union-buster."

But union organizers said they had no quarrel with Roy Kay's workers and denied the allegations of harassment.

"Why are we going to intimidate somebody who's working in there? asked Luis Montalvo, an organizer from Laborers' Local 79. "We want to organize them. Our dispute is with the company, not with the workers."

Meanwhile, Gov. Pataki and MTA Chairman Virgil Conway yesterday said they would make no decision on the status of the Roy Kay contract until the state Labor Department has completed its investigation into the company.

The department has accused the company of lying about safety violations and failing to keep accurate records on the number of hours worked by apprentices. The agency is due to make a ruling in August.

Company officials could not be reached for comment.

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