Non-union workers prompts labor rally at Menards

Fox Valley Building Trades rally

An Oct. 12 labor rally by the Fox Valley Building and Construction Trades Council raised awareness that out-of-state workers are working inside the Plano Menards Distribution Center on a facility that was to be built by organized labor or local contractors. Jennifer Rice/staff photographer

Jennifer Rice Managing Editor

By Jennifer Rice
Managing Editor
Thursday, Oct. 19, 2017
Email Jennifer Rice at: jen@foxvalley

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.

Fox Valley Building Trades rally

Affiliates from the Fox Valley Building and Construction Trades Council protest Oct. 12 at the Plano Menards Distribution Center where it is using out-of-state workers to construct a building on the Menards compound. Jennifer Rice/staff photographer

Power Forward DuPage


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.

Fox Valley Building Trades rally

Concrete is being hauled onto the property in trucks like the one pictured above. Jennifer Rice/staff photographer

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.”

Fox Valley Building Trades rally

Aurora-based IBEW Local 461 debuted its newest Scabby the Rat, which sports a white button shirt, tie and vest. Jennifer Rice/staff photographer

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.

Arcades At Home


“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.