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Feds slap landlord over refusal to negotiate with workers

Brooklyn Daily
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A notorious Flatbush landlord owes hundreds of thousands of dollars in back pay for 70 employees that it illegally locked out during an ongoing labor dispute, a federal agency said last Wednesday.

Renaissance Equity Holdings failed to bargain in good faith with its employees at a sprawling, 59-building development on Foster Avenue between Nostrand and Brooklyn avenues, the National Labor Relations Board said in a complaint filed last Thursday.

“He had no intention of reaching an agreement,” said Al Blyer, regional director for the Brooklyn office of the board, which called the behavior “destructive of the rights guaranteed employees” in the complaint.

Local 32BJ Service Employees International Union has been locked out of the buildings and picketing outside management’s office since refusing to take a 30 percent pay cut in November.

But the attorney for David Bistricer, who owns Renaissance, denied the charges, claiming the union refused to bend during negotiations.

“Local 32BJ has demonstrated bad faith and absolutely no interest in negotiating a new and fair agreement with Flatbush Gardens,” said Robert Wolf. “It insisted on wages above market rates for East Flatbush, and now seeks to further its own political agenda above the financial needs of its members.”

Renaissance has two weeks to respond to the charges, Blyer said. If a judge upholds the charges, “it’s going to be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars,” he said.

The landlord is also battling a litany of charges — totaling $51,000 in fines — from the federal government’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration for allegedly allowing the maintenance crew to work in raw sewage and deal with asbestos and lead paint without the proper safety equipment.

Bistricer also was sued in May by the development’s tenant association, which claimed he reneged on a deal to refurbish a community center in the basement of a building on Brooklyn Avenue between Foster Avenue and Farragut Road.

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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