The 57 owners of Central Park’s horse-drawn carriage medallions have split with the union that represented them in compromise talks with Mayor Bill de Blasio and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito.
Ian McKeever said Monday that the Teamsters didn’t consult the owners and drivers after agreeing to a tentative deal to downsize the number of working horses from 180 to 95, with 75 animals stabled in a facility the city promises to build in the park by 2018.
Teamsters Local 553 Secretary-Treasurer Demos Demopoulos responded in a statement Monday, “Carriage drivers were involved in every stage of this negotiation.”
But McKeever and other medallion owners, who have 68 carriages between them, voted on Saturday against the compromise. The City Council is expected to vote on the bill on Friday along with pay raises for themselves and other officials.
McKeever said the drivers sought job protection from the Teamsters when they the union joined years ago.
“They had done a very good job up until this point,” he told Newsday. “We didn’t want to be done with them because we were hoping the union would come out against this ... but they never came back to us.”
Demopoulos said the compromise is an improvement over an outright ban, which de Blasio vowed to win passage of two years ago.
“While this is not the bill we would have written on our own, the goal has always been to preserve this industry,” Demopoulos said.