Those who cross 'pleasure palace' motel picket line get picture posted online

Dray Clark has the latest from the Throggs Neck section.
March 29, 2014 6:37:15 PM PDT
'Cross our picket line and we'll put your picture online.' - that is the tactic that is employed by motel workers in the Bronx who are unhappy with recent cuts in their salary and benefits.

The picket line is occurring at the Capri Whitestone Motel where rooms can be rented in four-hour blocks.

The 18 unionized workers claim the owner of the motel cut their salaries from almost $25 an hour down to around $11.

Harry Rygor is the union Vice President who is representing the workers.

"He decided to cut the workers' salaries by 60 percent ? their medical, their pension contributions," Rygor says.

Workers say the motel has a reputation for being a 'pleasure palace', where guests can rent rooms for a few hours.

Now they are telling guests to go someplace else, or to say 'cheese', and have their pictures taken and posted on a website.

"We give them this card and we tell them 'don't cross our picket line, we tell them the reasons why," Rygor says, "we turn it around and give them information on other motels they can go, it's mapped out - really easy, and they can go. If they don't, they get their picture taken."

Rygor says he knows the picture-taking is extreme and unfair to guests, but he says the motel should not make a dime on the backs of underpaid workers. "They're entitled to a decent wage, and everybody should be supporting that."

Motel security tells Eyewitness News that the owner was not around, and the manager would not talk. Workers say they will protest as long as it takes to get the owners back on the negotiating table for a new and fair contract.

The workers still show up for work every day, but say the environment has become hostile inside the motel.