Ohio unions boycotting two parks
CLEVELAND (AP) -- Northeast Ohio unions are boycotting Geauga Lake and Cedar Point because their owner hired nonunion companies for a $26 million water park project.
The boycott could mean the loss of hundreds of thousands of dollars that owner Cedar Fair LLC typically takes in from union picnics at the two amusement parks every summer.
Cedar Fair is building a 20-acre waterpark, Wildwater Kingdom, on the former Sea World property at Geauga Lake, in Aurora about 20 miles southeast of Cleveland.
Picnic cancellations have come from construction unions, firefighters and the credit union that sponsors a summer picnic for up to 10,000 participants from United Food and Commercial Workers Local 880. The credit union usually spent between $125,000 and $180,000 on gate fees, manager Cindy Collin said.
Robert Rybak, business manager of Plumbers Local 55, said the picnics had been a tradition since he was a child. Union members were spending about $150,000 a year in admission, concession and room charges at the hotel at Cedar Point in Sandusky.
Cedar Fair filed unfair labor practice charges against the Tri-County Building and Construction Trades Council in May after the council called on unions to cancel their picnics.
The Sandusky-based company said Tri-County's fight was not with it but with the nonunion contractors that the trades council would like to organize, said Jeffrey Belkin, an attorney for Cedar Fair. The company said Tri-County's boycott was illegal. Cedar Fair also charged that Tri-County threatened or coerced other unions not to do business with the two parks.