The 65 Central Park Boathouse employees who walked off the job on August 9 in protest against the restaurant's labor practices are getting some heavy-hitting support from the federal National Labor Relations Board, which oversees union matters.

The NLRB plans to issues a "far-reaching legal complaint" against the restaurant, including accusations that managers interrogated, intimidated, and in some cases fired workers who supported the union. The Board will also seek an unusual order that requires the Boathouse to negotiate with the union, despite the fact that there has been no election to determine whether the restaurant's workers actually want to unionize. The board only goes after this order "in the rare instances when it concludes that an employer’s illegal actions are so widespread and egregious that they would prevent a fair unionization vote from being held."

The Boathouse, which is owned by Dean Poll, (who is still in the middle of fighting a nasty sexual harassment suit from a Boathouse employee), said that it will deny all the allegations. After the workers walked out, the restaurant issued a statement saying the union had organized “one publicity stunt after another” and was using “yet another vindictive tactic” against Poll, who lost his contract to run the Tavern on the Green earlier this year because of union woes. But one waiter said the Tavern drama has nothing to do with this strike: "We shouldn’t have to work in a place where we’re mistreated.”