A month after Central Park Boathouse workers staged a walkout in protest of alleged labor violations at the restaurant, operator Dean Poll has finally agreed to recognize and bargain with the hotel workers union.
Poll, whose contract dispute with the union shuttered Tavern on the Green in early 2010, has also agreed to rehire and pay back wages to some 18 workers who were fired earlier this year during an organizing campaign, Crain’s reports.
Although Poll made the offers to the National Labor Relations Board as a way to settle allegations of unfair labor practices, his lawyer claims this doesn’t mean that Poll is admitting he’s actually guilty of such violations. The union’s political director, meanwhile, says that the workers won’t return to work until all of the alleged violations have been resolved and “their rights are respected.” The union and the Boathouse have resumed negotiations, but will likely take their own sweet time in reaching an agreement.
In exchange for his belated recognition of the union and its workers, Poll is asking the city for more money to compensate for the added expenses that will accompany a union contract. Given the city’s reluctance to involve itself in the dispute, Poll may find himself in a similar position to his workers as he tries to curry favor with the powers that be.