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Mohegan Sun project delayed because of poor workmanship

08.28.13

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

Mohegan Sun project delayed because of poor workmanship

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, August 3rd- Mike Bean, the President and General Manager at the Mohegan Sun Casino at Pocono Downs in Luzerne County, recently announed the $50 million hotel and convention center under construction and that was slated to open in early fall will be delayed until late fall because of construction issues.

The newspaper has learned part of the delay is because of poor workmanship of out-of-the-area nonunion construction workers that were hired by Mohegan Sun while many local unionized tradespeople are finding it difficult to keep employed.

The percentage of work on the more than 20,000 square foot convention center and the 238 guest room hotel being done by nonunion often out-of-the-area construction workers was estimated to be more than 60 percent by Mike Rozitski, the President of the Northeastern Pennsylvania Building and Construction Trades Council labor federation. Mr. Rozitski stated nearly every construction union affiliated with the labor federation has not been hired for some of the project’s construction.

In 2005, when the main casino building was built, a Project Labor Agreement (PLA) was signed between the Northeastern Building and Construction Trades Council and Mohegan Sun operators. However, Mohegan Sun would not sign a PLA for these projects, Mr. Rozitski said. 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 labor peace and a steady labor supply.

In the past, members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Union Local 163 in Wilkes-Barre, picketed outside of the Mohegan Sun protesting the hiring of a Missouri-based contractor for the electrical work. Also, other unions have held similar events protesting their members not being hired for parts of the projects.

Members of the International Brotherhood of Carpenters Union Local 645 held a banner in front of the project stating Mohegan Sun officials should be ashamed of themselves for not hiring local construction workers to perform work that would be usually done by Local 645 members.

John Gatto, Assistant Business Manager of the Painters and Allied Trades International Union (PATIU) District Council 21, Drums, stated he currently has members working along-side with members of Local 645 replacing building materials that was constructed and was full of mold because of poor craftmanship. “They needed as many people that we can give them because the drywall was hung without being protected from the whether. It had to be torn-out and replaced because of mold,” stated Mr. Gatto.

Meanwhile, even after leaning of the poor craftesmanship of the nonunion out-of-the-area workers, Mohegan Sun officials continue to hire nonunion contractors for work of the projects.