Monday, March 17, 2008
Laborers' Local 665 Takes Issue With Turner Construction
At about 8:00 A.M. this morning a bus and a contingent of about 100 union workers arrived at the Turner Construction Milford H.Q. on Wheelers farms road. The peaceful protest took place on the sidewalk adjacent to the street as indicated in the photo.
I asked Joseph Ambrosini what the nature of the protest was, and he was kind enough to have his associate provide me with a document titled the "Turner Construction Campaign Fact Sheet" dated 2/2/08. According to that fact sheet, one of the issues the Laborers' Local has with Turner Construction is its policies. To quote the document verbatim it states: "Unfortunately, Turner Construction has consistently been hiring construction sub-contractors which have hired undocumented workers, failed to pay the state of Connecticut for workman compensation dues, failed to follow and pay prevailing wage standards along with other various policies that are bad for Connecticut taxpayers and threaten the safety of projects throughout the state."
Another reason for their "open air" protest was to engage in a "public advocacy" and awareness campaign to inform businesses, the public, political and community leaders as to the alleged undocumented worker problems sanctioned by Turner Construction. At the time of my arrival between 8:30 and 11:30 it appeared that no other local public persons expressed any interest or participation, besides myself.
To get both sides of this story, I contacted the Milford Turner Construction office for comment, I spoke to the receptionist who answered the phone who had no comment other than to refer me to Chris McFadden at their N.Y. office. I contacted Chris for his comments on these labor issues he did eventually return my call at about 1:00 P.M. today in response to the allegations made against them.
McFadden started off by stating that "Turner complies with all laws pertaining to labor, state and federal taxation. He acknowledges that there has been an ongoing issue between Turner and its unions since January of this year citing previous state inquiries. Turner indicated that the dispute was likely due to the fact that a "Collective Bargaining Agreement" has not been signed and this was likely upsetting the union workers."
Mcfadden also said "that on every work site 90% of all workers are union members except in cases where they are acting as a consultant for their clients who often want to use their own sub-contractors for projects. Turner indicated that they have a strict policy of compliance and whenever they discover violations by their subcontractors they immediately demand they become compliant with all laws and company policies. However, he also mentioned that Turner cannot police every subcontractor as effectively as they would like. In such cases they rely on the advice and reports of other union workers who are free to contact their H.Q. with any job site concerns. In summary McFadden is of the opinion that Turner construction has done everything in its power to comply with the stated issues and concerns of their unions."
As a special note I would like to add that the people who attended the protest were receptive, very kind, knew the prevailing issues really well and spoke with humble concern and sadness for the middle class in America. They also provided an atmosphere likened to kindred family unity in support of one another. I thank all those there this morning for their hospitality, and offerings and wish them the best of luck in resolving their differences with Turner.
"However, he also mentioned that Turner cannot police every subcontractor as effectively as they would like."
"We work very closely with our clients and the contractors working on our projects to ensure compliance with all labor laws. Turner is compliant with all labor laws. The contractors with all labor laws as well."