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Smithtown company required to say it won't harm activists

A Smithtown real estate investment company has been

A Smithtown real estate investment company has been required to post a notice promising not to threaten employees involved in labor activities. (Undated) Photo Credit: Newsday Photo Illustration / Tony Jerome

A Smithtown real estate investment company was forced by a federal labor agency to post an unusual notice at one of its office complexes this month.

The National Labor Relations Board-required notice says: "We will not threaten to kill you or to cause you bodily harm because you engage in activities" in support of a labor union.

The company, Matrix Realty Group, had to post the notice this week at an office complex it owns in Danbury, Conn.

The notice is the result of a dispute between Matrix owner Glen Nelson of Miller Place and the Service Employees International Union.

The dispute escalated last year when Nelson bought a Connecticut building and switched janitorial companies to a nonunion cleaning service, replacing a workforce of 40 union janitors to save $1.3 million a year.

The man who says he was threatened, Arthur Tiscia, 40, in a telephone interview Wednesday said he went to Nelson's home in Miller Place on Dec. 21 with a group of the cleaners who had lost their jobs.

They set up a table and a banner in the street near Nelson's driveway and intended to ask Nelson's neighbors for food donations for Christmas, for the families of janitors who had lost their jobs, Tiscia said. Nelson came home and threatened him, Tiscia said.

Nelson declined to talk about the notice or the dispute but issued a written statement saying Tiscia misconstrued something he said about how his new, less-expensive cleaning contractor was "killing" the union price-wise. Nelson said he agreed to post the NLRB notice to avoid a costly legal battle.

Suffolk police said an officer took a report in January in connection with a Dec. 21 dispute between Tiscia and Nelson. There is nothing in the police report about a death threat, and after the report was filed no further police action was taken, a police spokeswoman said.

The union's claim against Matrix says Nelson violated labor law "by threatening to shoot and kill Arthur Tiscia and have him arrested for engaging in union activity."

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