Union Rat Invades Gramercy Park, Emerges VictoriousAfter two weeks of unsightly picketing and the (even more unwelcome) presence of a giant inflatable union rat in genteel Gramercy Park, Local 6 of Unite Here and the Players Club reached an agreement Friday afternoon. It reinstates sixteen union members from the club’s restaurant and bar operations who were fired as a cost-cutting measure. John Turchiano, a union spokesman, said the terminated union members return to work today with back pay. “They got everything they wanted, and now we will sit down with management and try out to work out any financial difficulty now that they’re abiding by an arbiter’s ruling,” he said, referring to an arbiter’s January 15 ruling ordering the Players Club to reinstate the terminated employees with back pay.
The Union Rat Descends Upon Gramercy ParkIn 1888, Edwin Booth, the famed Shakespearean actor, along with Mark Twain, General William Tecumseh Sherman, and a slew of other distinguished American notables from the nineteenth century, formed their own club where they could hang out and smoke cigars and sip brandy and yap about the dramatic arts. They also created a fund to help struggling actors. They called themselves “The Players,” and their club was run out Booth’s old townhouse at 16 Gramercy Park, where it is still in operation.
In the past few days, the club’s picturesque Stanford White façade, facing the tony private park, has been partially blocked by a sight uncommon in this quiet residential neighborhood: the union rat. It’s a sign of lingering troubles within.