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Building Trade Unions conducting informational picketing in Taylor

05.11.08

May 2008 Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton edition of The Union News

Building Trade Unions conducting informational picketing in Taylor

By PAUL TUCKER
theunionnewsswb@aol.com

TAYLOR, May 1st- The retail development under construction on Main Avenue In the Borough of Taylor, Lackawanna County, which will include a Wal-Mart Supercenter store, is being picketed by unionized construction workers.

The site formerly contained multible retail stores including a pizza shop, a bargain store and the building where Lackawanna County housed their voting machines.

The union members are conducting the informational picketing to inform the public their members want to be hired for the construction of the Mal-Mart store and any other building project that may be constructed on the site. It has not been confirmed, but possibly a Home Depot store may be built on the site.

According to Jack Figured, Field Representative of the International Union of Bricklayers & Allied Craftworkers Union Local 5, the only building trade union that should have been hired for the project so-far, is the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) Union Local 542. Local 542 members operate heavy construction equipment.

Before the site can be ready for the construction of the retail center it requires a lot of excavation work including providing backfill of soil in the rear area of the development.

There are sixteen local unions affiliated with the Scranton Building and Construction Trades Council labor federation.

Mr. Figured, Vice President of the organization, told the newspaper members of many of the affiliated construction trade unions are picketing with members of the IUOE to support them for solidarity purposes. He added a Wal-Mart official, who is a local resident, has been given a list of local unionized contractors.

According to Gene Arcurie, Treasurer of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Union Local 81, his union is participating with the informational picketing and a unionized electrical contractor has not yet been hire for the project. However, Mr. Arcurie indicated the electrical work will not be needed until a later stage of the project.

“I’m hopeful we get hired for the project, but I personally don’t shop at Wal-Mart. They are anti-union, and treat their workers like dirt,” said Mr. Arcurie.

The union protests in Taylor often consist of a large inflatable rat, which is owned by the labor federation.

According to John Gatto, Assistant Business Manager of the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT) Union District 21, his union is also participating in the picketing and does not yet know if a contractor under contract with the union will be hired for the project.

Pat Andes, President and Organizer of the Sheet Metal Workers Union Local 44 told the newspaper his union is participating with the informational picket line and has personally walked with his fellow union members. “On May 1st, I almost got run over by a nonunion driver,” said Mr. Andes.

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