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Iron Workers Union the latest not to get work at Mohegan Sun

02.08.13

FEBRUARY 2013, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton Edition of The Union News

Iron Workers Union the latest not to get work at Mohegan Sun

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, February 2nd- The percentage of nonunion construction workers that have been hired for the $50 million construction project at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Plains Township, is getting even larger with the hiring of iron workers from out-of-the-area. Mohegan Sun is building a new hotel and convention center.

The project was devided into two parts, the construction of the hotel and the construction of the convention center.

In December members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Union Local 163 in Wilkes-Barre picketed outside of the Mohegan Sun for several days protesting the hiring of a Missouri-based contractor for the electrical work.

Mohegan Sun responded by setting-up two gates to the construction site, one for nonunion workers and one for union tradesmen. IBEW members were then forced to picket only the nonunion worker gate, so not to cause delays in the construction schedule after other union construction members began not to cross the information picket line.

Kevin McHugh, Business Manager of the International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental and Reinforcing Iron Workers Union Local 489, told the newspaper a nonunion out-of-the-area contractor has been hired for the construction of the reinforcing iron neccessary for the building of the convention center.

Local 489 members were hired during the hotel phase of the construction project. However, Mr. McHugh feared during that project his members would not be hired for the construction of the convention center.

Mike Rozitski, President of the Northeastern Pennsylvania Building and Construction Trades Council labor federation told the newspaper he is disappointed nearly every construction union affiliated with the labor organization are not being hired for some of the work construction.

Mr. Rozitski said in 2005, when the main casino building was built, a Project Labor Agreement (PLA) was used. But, Mohegan Sun would not sign a PLA for these projects. A PLA is a comprehensive agreement signed by a builder and local craft unions under which a defined construction project is agreed to be completed by workers from local union halls, in return for a guarantee of no strikes, a steady labor supply, and labor peace.

Mr. Rozitski feels that less than 40 percent of the work being done at Mohegan Sun involves tradespeople of the building trade unions.