NEW: Carpenter Union Protests Outside New Telegram Building
Friday, April 20, 2012
Paul Johnson, Human Resources Manager at Champagne Drywall said the company had no comment on the protest but could affirm that they have been hired to do the renovations at 100 Front Street.
“We’re standing up for all carpenters. We build commerce. We build prosperity in this city, and they’re trying to shortchange us,” said Manny Gines, organizer for New England Regional Council of Carpenters (NERCC). “We’re here protecting area standards for carpenter wages. It’s all about benefits and wages, and Champagne Drywall doesn’t comply with these standards.”
According to Gines, the company pays its workers much less than the union’s $33/hr rate.
“We want them to go the union. We’re asking them to make changes,” said protestor Mark Melanson. Protestors chanted in front of the building, banging buckets and repeating demands for Champagne Drywall to uphold area standards.
Security Director for the building, Greg Abraham, was on the scene with security, making sure the group was in the proper area. Worcester Police were also looking on as drivers honked and passersby stopped. Abraham stated that he had no issue with the protest, as long as it did not get out of hand.
“We’ve had it. We’re coming out of three and a half years of a bad economy. The unemployment rate for carpenters across the nation was an average 30-40%. And they’re trying to pay their workers less than it takes to raise a family, to pay the mortgage, to feed your family? We’re done,” Donahue said.
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