A federal judge yesterday rejected the Manufacturing Woodworkers Association of Greater New York's (MWA) request for a preliminary injunction to halt the New York City District Council of Carpenters ongoing strike. The July 18 decision by U.S. District Judge Richard M. Berman came as the strike by 350 members of the council enters its 18th day.

A council spokesman says that his group and MWA are still in non-binding negotiations but are "far apart."

MWA is seeking a 10-year agreement, an across-the-board wage freeze and a second-tier employee system with lower wages and benefits. "Throughout a heat wave and weeks of cut wages and benefits, the workers are resolved in fighting for a fair contract that provides wages and benefits that can sustain a family in New York," the spokesman says.

MWA did not respond to calls for comment by press time.

The council's five-year collective bargaining agreement with MWA expired June 30, 2012 but was extended for another year. Both parties have been negotiating for a new agreement since around February 2013 but talks broke down in June, according to court documents.

Members covered by the MWA contract earn an average of about $31 per hour with benefits, the council says. It adds that it has established a strike fund and an assistance hotline to help those on strike.