Members of Teamsters Local 272 protested outside a ritzy Windsor Terrace apartment building Thursday, claiming its parking garage contractor fired the union workers in favor of cheaper labor.
The workers say they were given the boot with no notice on April 18.
“All of this was without a warning, that’s why we’re out here,” said terminated parking lot worker Latif Ginyard. “In the middle of a pandemic.”
Adding insult to injury, workers say they were asked to come in and train their non-union replacements after they were canned.
“Once I showed them my skills, they took it and ran with it,” said Ginyard, who worked at the parking lot on Caton Place for two years. “I gave you two years of service and that’s what you do to me?”
The non-union workers are paid around $3 to $4 less than union workers, according to a Teamsters representative.
“[The owner is] basically only really saving on the union costs, which are like nickels and dimes,” said former garage subcontractor Kris Trposki of the lot’s operator, Prompt Parking, which manages, maintains and monetizes more than 5,000 parking spots throughout New York and New Jersey, according to its website — and which did not return a message seeking comment.
The firing comes after the workers say they’ve faced a particularly pressing year of work due to the pandemic, with few willing to work in person. When one garage worker fell ill with COVID-19 a few weeks ago, worker Pablo Zenbuddai says he worked nonstop to cover for him, even after being hit by a car riding his bike.
“I worked 24 hours straight through, seven days a week. I even got hit off my bike and came to work,” Zenbuddai said. “And [Prompt Parking] didn’t even call us and compliment us.”
For Ginyard, losing his job is an unwelcome bout of instability after an already difficult year.
“I’ve got a kid I’ve got to take care of,” he said. “Eventually the money’s going to run out that you do have saved, and then what?”
Teamsters Local 272 represents more than 7,000 workers in parking garages across New York City.