Monday, December 22, 2008

Holiday warmth

A meeting between representatives from Councilman Oliver Koppell’s office, the union representing striking Stella D’oro workers, representatives from the 50th Precinct and community members last week, has resulted in a plan to keep the strikers warmer and more comfortable as the standoff with the company’s owners, Brynwood Partners, continues into its fifth month.

According to Mr. Koppell, after the 5-0 forced the strikers to remove their tarps, chairs and tables from the picket line in October, they have now agreed to allow members of Local 50 to bring some of the tables and chairs back, as long as they don’t leave them unattended.

Mr. Koppell said the 5-0 has also agreed to a bus that can be parked outside the Broadway factory to shelter striking workers from the blistering cold, and has allowed a heater for the bus so that strikers would not have to keep it idling in order to maintain a comfortable temperature inside.

“I must say the police were very cooperative,” said Mr. Koppell.
Mr. Koppell said he has offered to help the strikers find an appropriate vehicle and also to help them get a permit to use a nearby streetlamp to power a heater for the bus.

The strike began in August to protest what workers describe as an unfair contract. The union claims the new contract reduces some workers’ salaries, eliminates holidays, vacation and sick pay and imposes higher healthcare costs.

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