On Tuesday, for over four hours, an estimated thirty labor and community members walked an informational picket, called by the Carpenters union, demanding fair and legal working conditions at the Madison Yard Project, at the former site of the now-demolished state Department of Transportation building at University Avenue and Segoe Road in Madison. Specifically, the union is demanding the removal of one contractor, Suburban Drywall, which the union claims is making an end around tax and labor laws by exploiting undocumented and immigrant workers. Mike Higgins, Business Representative for the Carpenters Union, explained why the informational picket was called.
Raul Hernandez, Business Representative of the North Central States Regional Council of Carpenters, had this to say.
Higgins gave the key demand.
According to the union, Suburban Drywall avoids protections granted through a union contract and through labor law by having workers form Limited Liability Companies, or LLCs, to avoid classification as employees. Polo Duran, a Business Representative for the Carpenters, gave details about how he understands this wage and tax avoidance system works.
Kevin Gundlach, President of the South Central Federation of Labor, or Scuffle, explained why he was there.
Worker Justice of Wisconsin put out a call to the faith community and at least two Roman Catholic religious answered the call. Here are Father Jim Murphy, a long-time peace and justice activist and pastor of Saint Thomas Parish in Montfort, and Sister Maureen McDonnell, of the Dominican Order of Sinsinawa in Sinsinawa, near the Iowa border, both of whom traveled to Madison for the informational picket.
Sara Trongone, Labor Solidarity Co-Chair of the Teaching Assistants Association, the TAA, AFT Local 3220, was there, and described what she saw as the importance of this action for all workers and members of the Madison community.
That was Sara Trongone of the TAA, one of the many union and community representatives at an informational picket called by the Carpenters union, held Tuesday at University and Segoe in Madison. A smaller informational picket with an estimated eight to ten people was held simultaneously in Sun Prairie at another job site at which Suburban Drywall is a subcontractor. Labor Radio contacted the Lake Mills office of Suburban Drywall but has received no response. Mike Higgins of the Carpenters promises additional actions in the future until problems are resolved.
Reporting Courtesy of Greg Geboski
Image Courtesy of Greg Geboski