Union Members Stage Red Carpet Rally Protesting Robert De Niro's Use of Non-Union Labor
On Wednesday, members of SMART Sheet Metal Workers Local 28, Laborers Local 79, Steamfitters Local 638, community supporters and other union workers rallied in front of the Tribeca Film Center, calling on self-professed union man Robert De Niro to stop cutting corners on workplace standards by using nonunion construction contractors—which have a history of safety violations—on his new Wildflower Studio project in Astoria, Queens.
"It is truly disappointing to know that fellow New Yorker and self-proclaimed union advocate/member Robert De Niro is building his $700 million state-of-the-art studio in Queens using exploited workers and with a general contractor who is a defendant in 50 separate lawsuits," said Eric Meslin, President and Business Manager of SMART Local 28.
De Niro has long benefitted from his SAG-AFTRA membership and has spoken publicly in support of organized labor, including during his viral 2020 SAG-AFTRA Life Achievement Award acceptance speech. However, while De Niro and the Wildflower Studio development team promised union jobs for Astoria community members when seeking public approval for the project, they have since contracted with aggressively nonunion, exploitative companies during construction. Check out more photos and video of the red carpet protest on Local 79's Twitter!