Iron Workers case frames bargaining unit for Big Apple precast erector

Sources: National Labor Relations Board Region 29, Brooklyn, N.Y.; CP staff

National Labor Relations Board Regional Director (RD) Kathy Drew-King has determined a craft unit within the site crew of Kingston, N.Y.-based NYC Crane Hoist Operations LLC, and directed an election for its 27 members to vote on representation by the United Derrickmen & Riggers Association, International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental and Reinforcing Iron Workers Local 197.

The Long Island City, N.Y. union had petitioned for an election with bargaining unit comprising a) all NYC Crane Hoist Operations staff, excepting crane operators or, b) as an alternative, all staff, excepting crane operators, drivers and yard workers. RD Drew-King affirms a community of interest across five functions in the alternative bargaining unit: Rigger, attaches precast elements to a crane hook or other lifting hardware; Connector, receives and aligns element with connection; Welder, secures precast connections and welding tie-ins for construction cranes; Fireguard, monitors welders’ work for fire hazards; and, Signalmen, maintains radio contact with crane operators and guides erection of elements out of operator line of sight. 

“Within the precast team, some of the petitioned-for employees have regular contact with the crane operator, as their daily duties intertwine with one another. Crane operators, however, rarely perform the duties of the petitioned-for employees, and the petitioned-for employees do not perform the duties of crane operators,” RD Drew-King writes in her election order. “I find that the petitioned-for unit of employees performing precast work is not a craft unit. However, I find that the Petitioner’s alternative unit of all employees, excluding crane operators, drivers, and yard workers, is an appropriate unit for collective bargaining.”

“Although crane operators may spend up to 50 percent of their working time performing crane installation rigging duties, none of the employees in the alternative unit spend any amount of time performing the duties of a crane operator,” she elaborates. “The record clearly reflects that crane operators have the potential to earn significantly higher wages than employees in the alternative unit, and the employer grants some benefits to crane operators that it does not provide to employees in the alternative unit. The differences as measured by these factors would certainly result in different bargaining interests.”

Against NYC Crane Hoist Operations’ request for an election by in-person, manual method, the NLRB Region 29 office scheduled mail-in voting with a December 7 deadline, citing agency guidance in the wake of Covid-19 response measures.

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