PLANO — After two weeks protesting on its own, Elgin-based Laborers Local 582 teamed with Aurora-based Iron Workers Local 393 and called for an Oct. 12 labor protest against work being done at the Plano Menards Distribution Center.
In early September, work began inside the Menards compound on the construction of a facility to treat pressurized lumber — which was to be built by organized labor or local contractors.
“It’s being done by neither,” explained Iron Workers Local 393 Business Manager Dirk Enger, who was at the labor protest.
Enger attended previous Plano City Council meetings where a Menards representative indicated work would be done by “Fox Valley construction companies.”
“It’s a bad move. Our biggest issues is, the people who are in there doing the concrete right now are driving into work with vehicles with Texas and Missouri plates. They are not local people. The trust the community had with Menards has been lost,” Enger said.
Local, signatory contractors submitted bids, only to find Menards had already awarded the contact to Michigan-based IDH Concrete for 15,000 cubic yards of concrete.
Laborers Local 582 Business Manager Marty Dwyer said he talked with the project manager regarding the bids. “When I questioned why he was taking bids if the project had already been awarded, he said, “we’re in a hurry to get the job done.”
The new, pressurized lumber plant will require a non-drinking water well. During city meetings, a Menards representative indicated the plan is to sink a well to a low aquifer, which will not affect surrounding, deeper farm wells. That has Plano residents and farmers concerned for their water.
“They’re worried about where Menards is going to dump the treated water, because there is waste treatment in that,” said Enger. “Menards said the water is going to be in holding cells, but there’s nothing on the prints that show holding cells. We’re concerned they’re just going to dump it on the ground, where it will make its way to the creeks, and then it’s an environmental issue.”
The Menards representative assured Plano officials no dumping would occur in storm or sewer pipes, which flow into the Fox River and into the water aquifer, which supplies Plano and other neighboring communities drinking water.