Federal project, or tenant build out?

Obama archives labor protest

A labor dispute broke out in Hoffman Estates at the facility along Golf Road that will temporarily house archives for the future Barack Obama Presidential Center. Union members are trying to find out if the conversion is a federally funded project, or a tenant build out. Jennifer Rice/staff photographer

Jennifer Rice Managing Editor

By Jennifer Rice
Managing Editor
Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016
Email Jennifer Rice at: jen@foxvalley
labornews.com

View a video from the Hoffman Estates labor dispute by going to the Fox Valley Labor News YouTube channel

HOFFMAN ESTATES — It seems inconceivable that a temporary archives facility, set to house archives for our DEMOCRATIC president in the Barack Obama Presidential Center, destined to be built in CHICAGO — ground zero for the LABOR MOVEMENT, is currently being worked on by non-signatory contractors.

What’s unclear, and what union leaders are trying to determine, is if the conversion of the archives facility is a tenant build out, or a federally funded project that should adhere to the Davis-Bacon Act.

Until it’s figured out, one thing is clear: Union members will be out along Golf Road with Scabby the Rat fighting this labor dispute.

Davis-Bacon, passed in 1931, requires private contractors to pay “prevailing wages” to employees on all construction projects receiving more than $2,000 in federal funding.

“If this is a federal project, Davis-Bacon applies,” said Sheet Metal Workers Local 73 Organizer Eric Olson.

Obama archives labor protest

Sheet Metal Workers Local 73 Organizer Eric Olson, left, brings State Rep. Marty Moylan up-to-date on the status of the building trades labor dispute against Mid-Continental Management. Moylan came out Aug. 22 to talk to union members about the situation. Jennifer Rice/staff photographer

Unfortunately, Olson is being told by Mid-Continental Management owner Andrew Staskevicius that it’s not a federal project and that the end-user will be the National Archives and Record Administration.

The building is owned by Hoffman Estates Medical Development LLC, which hired Mid-Continental Management as the general contractor. Local 73 put up Scabby the Rat Aug. 17. A labor rally was held Aug. 22, where several building trades members, retirees and local politicians, like Representative Marty Moylan and State Sen. Laura Murphy, came out.

Obama archives labor protest

From left, Mid-Continental Management owner Andrew Staskevicius talks with Sheet Metal Workers Local 73 Organizers David Sylvester and Eric Olson about signatory contractors that may have bid on the job for the conversion of the former Plunkett Furniture store that will house the temporary archives of the future Barack Obama Presidential Center. Jennifer Rice/staff photographer

As he has in days past, Staskevicius came out Aug. 22 to talk with members, specifically SMW Local 73 Organizers Olson and David Sylvester. Again, he indicated the conversion project is a tenant build out.

“I’m getting paid by the owner of the building. He is leasing to the government. There are government funds when the government actually taking over,” Staskevicius said, indicating the project is partially funded by the government.

Obama archives labor protest

State Sen. Laura Murphy, talks with Chicago & Cook County Building and Construction Trades Council President Ralph Affrunti about the situation during the construction at the Barack Obama Presidential Center. Jennifer Rice/staff photographer

Sylvester said it’s a federally funded job that was a no-bid contract. “This is a 74,200-square foot facility that’s being leased out for $11.6 million for four years, with a two-year extended option.”

Staskevicius indicated women would be working on the project. “For cleaning, and stuff like that, it’s going to be women.”

Obama archives labor protest

State Rep. Marty Moylan gives his full support to union members who are involved in the labor dispute. Jennifer Rice/staff photographer

Scabby the Rat sightings

SEIU Local 73

SEIU Local 73 members with the Bolingbrook Park District Building and Grounds Division, along with their supporters, protest May 5 in Bolingbrook on the corner of Boughton Road and Delware Avenue. The intersection was local the homes to several Bolingbrook Park District board members. Members joined the union 21 months ago, but have yet to see their first contract. Jennifer Rice/staff photographer

Laborer’s Local 68 of Lombard

Members of Laborer’s Local 68 of Lombard, protest Corrpro Co. May 5 in Willowbrook along Route 8 and Midway Drive. Their protest paid off after the Corrpro reached out to the union for a meeting to talk. Jennifer Rice/staff photographer

2015 Fox Valley Labor News Top 10 stories

Fox Valley Labor News staff reports
Thursday, Dec. 31, 2016

Staff at the Fox Valley Labor News looks back at 2015’s Top Ten stories that impacted Labor and you – was your pick No. 1?

2015 Fox Valley Labor News Top 10
‘If we must, we will withhold our labor’

‘If we must, we will withhold our labor’

The call for a strike by members of the Chicago Teachers Union came weeks before the year ended, but it’s still important enough to make our Top Ten lest this year.

An overwhelming majority of the Chicago Teachers Union, 88 percent, voted Dec. 14 to allow union leaders to call for a strike. It will be several months before the union decides whether to actually begin a strike. First, they’re going on a “fact-finding mission” in one last effort to resolve the negotiations.

If they do decide to walk out of their classrooms, it will be the second time the union — which has 27,000 members and serves the nation’s third largest school district in the nation — has gone on strike in just a few years.


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Archbishop Blase Cupich supports labor

2015 Fox Valley Labor News Top 10

In a speech to union members in September, Chicago Archbishop Blase Cupich pledged his support and that of the Catholic Church to strengthening the labor movement, talking about the principles of solidarity and the protection of the dignity of workers that link the labor movement and the Catholic Church together.

The Archbishop detailed expectations union members can have of the Archdiocese, pledging the church will be a prominent voice and ally in standing up for workers’ rights. Cupich directly challenged the measures of Right to Work laws.


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Secret TPP text unveiled – it’s worse than we thought

2015 Fox Valley Labor News Top 10

As one would expect with a deal negotiated behind closed doors with 500 corporate advisers and the public and press shut out — the agreement helps big business — not everyday Americans.

It’s predicted the deal will cause a massive trade deficit in manufacturing, which would result in hundreds of thousands of job losses.

The TPP would make it easier for corporations to offshore American jobs and would push down wages by throwing Americans into competition with Vietnamese workers making less than 65 cents an hour. It does nothing to stop international rule breakers — and countries like China will once again be the winners.


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Scabby the Rat stands strong

2015 Fox Valley Labor News Top 10

We couldn’t have a complete Top Ten list without the mention of Scabby the Rat and his Fat Cat counterpart. Without fail, these inflatables have stood strong for union members, helping secure union contracts and raising awareness of businesses using non-signatory contractors.

Scabby shows up everywhere! He’s been spotted at Twin Peaks restaurant in Warrenville; in Schaumburg protesting Miller Concrete Construction; in Niles supporting Chicago-area Coco-Cola refreshment workers on strike; in Westmont where LiUNA Local 68 was protesting Prime and in East Dundee where he was supporting locked out members of IAM Automobile Mechanics Local 701 when members picketed Al Piemonte Chevrolet.


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CPS financial mess

2015 Fox Valley Labor News Top 10

The mess that is the Chicago Public School system has suffered one blunder after another. The federal investigation into CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett role in a $20 million no-bid contract to the SUPES Academy was a major shady deal. Her departure hasn’t helped matters. After a year-long talk of a possible strike, teachers voted this month to authorize a strike.

After years of budget gimmicks and massive borrowing, CPS approved an operating budget, but it depended on a half-billion dollars’ worth of money from Springfield — which has yet to materialize. CPS is now looking at laying off thousands of teachers. Parents have turned to hunger strikes to get recognition for the plights of their children and their schools. Special education spending was cut and parents are still feeling the pain of 50 school closings in 2013.


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Fast food and retail workers Fight for $15

2015 Fox Valley Labor News Top 10

For the third year in a row, the call-to-action Fight for $15 campaign shows up in our Top Ten. This year, we saw Los Angeles, New York and other cities raise the minimum wage for their citizens.

Locally, the Fight for $15 campaign delivered 1.4 million petitions to McDonald’s shareholder meeting, urging hourly wages for the burger giant’s front-line workers be increased to $15 an hour.

In April Tens of thousands of workers from all low wage sectors and communities across America and the world made history in a massive mobilization for better pay, respect, and corporate accountability.

Effective July 1, McDonald’s increased starting wages to $1 above the local minimum at 1,500 company-owned restaurants. It does not effect franchisees, which operate the majority of U.S. restaurants.


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Organized labor takes on big projects

2015 Fox Valley Labor News Top 10

Organized labor rose to the challenge when it came to constructing projects in 2015 throughout the Chicagoland area. This month, CISCO will present its 2015 Pride in Construction Awards, which range from medical centers and parks to apartments and lofts.

In Aurora, the building trades were praised for their craftsmanship on the new Aurora library, a $28 million project, and for expansions to the Premium Outlet Mall and the Wrigley Manufacturing Co. in Yorkville.

Some Chicago construction included the Madison Racine Apartments, Cancer Treatment Center of America, Maggie Daley Park, Lemont Wet Weather Treatment Facility & Reservoir, Bensenville Police & Emergency Management Headquarters and AMLI Lofts.


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Sanders VS Clinton

2015 Fox Valley Labor News Top 10

Who’s going to win the Democratic nomination for president — Sen. Bernie Sanders or former Sec. of State Hillary Clinton? Time will tell. Top national labor unions have backed both candidates for different reasons. National leaders at SEIU announced an official endorsement of Clinton, despite Sanders getting a lot of support from local chapters. The American Postal Workers Union, the United Electrical Workers and the National Nurses United are backing Sanders. Former Communications Workers of America President Larry Cohen is also helping lead the effort for Team Bernie.

At first, organized labor was hesitant to back Clinton — due to her opposition to the Keystone Pipeline and hesitance to oppose the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). But along with SEIU backing Clinton, so is the American Federation of Teachers, the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers and the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees.

Both Clinton and Sanders are succeeding by addressing some pretty mainstream issues: raising the minimum wage, equal pay protections for women, paid family leave, making college affordable, and universal background checks for gun purchases. The Democrats are not insulting each other and they are not spinning fantastic conspiracy theories — unlike the candidates on the GOP side.


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Who’s the craziest GOP presidential nominee?

2015 Fox Valley Labor News Top 10

The opportunity to run for president on the GOP ticket has turned into 3 ring circus. The presidential hopefuls have been whittled down from 17. Hands down, Donald Trump leads the pack of dimwits. Unfortunately, little can stop the rise of Trump. No matter how offensive or nonsensical his views, the millionaire businessman keeps doing better and better in the polls. From his views on Hillary Clinton’s inability to please her husband to his attacks on the physical appearance of other women, Trump proves time and time again what an ass he is.

We can’t forget how he suggested John McCain wasn’t a war hero because he was captured, or how he characterized Mexican immigrants as “rapists.” Trump would also like to date his daughter Ivanka, you know, if she wasn’t already his DAUGHTER.


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Gov. Bruce Rauner’s anti-worker obsession

2015 Fox Valley Labor News Top 10

Illinois closes out 2015 and heads into 2016 without a state budget and with a governor at the helm doing nothing to remedy the issue. All year, Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner has pushed his Turnaround Agenda onto cities and municipalities, all in the hopes it will be approved so he can limit collective bargaining and the rights of workers injured on the job – hurting the middle class. Without a budget since July 1, vital human service agencies that receive state funding are hurting. As cities and municipalities consider Rauner’s Turnaround Agenda, organized labor has shown up in droves to voice their concerns on Rauner’s anti-worker tactics, the elimination of prevailing wage and the implementation of right to work zones, which would strip workers of their right to form strong unions and bargain for a better life.

Scabby the Rat sighting

Twin Peaks Scabby 2015

July 23, 2015 – Union members handbill July 17 to customers who were patronizing Twin Peaks restaurant in Warrenville. From left, Laborers Local 68 Vice President/Business Agent Michael J. Van Wagner, Operating Engineers Local 150 Task Force/Business Representative Mike Drew and Laborers Local 68 Organizer Bryan Hacker. At the same time, Carpenter’s Local 558 was bannering the Twin Peaks restaurant under construction in Oakbrook Terrace. Jennifer Rice/staff photographer

October 2014

Oct., 2014

2014 November

Nov., 2014

In October 2014, far left, IBEW Local 701 union members and Scabby the Rat protested Dave’s Electric working at Twin Peaks in Warrenville for violating area standards. In November 2014, left, members of Chicago Regional Council of Carpenters Local 1889 were on strike for area standards against DBI Dunaway Brothers.

 

Unions making things better for the future

Scabby the Rat

A new restaurant, Twin Peaks, is coming to Warrenville, but it’s starting to be built mostly with out-of-state and non-signatory contractors. Members of IBEW Local 701 brought Scabby the Rat to the job site to alert other trades. Jennifer Rice/staff photographer

Jennifer Rice Managing Editor

By Jennifer Rice
Managing Editor
Thursday, Oct. 23, 2014
Email Jennifer Rice at: jen@foxvalley
labornews.com

WARRENVILLE — The driver of a pick-up truck said it best as he drove past protesting union members Oct. 22 and a Scabby the Rat inflatable which was put up outside a construction site.

“Lousy rats!” the driver yelled from his truck.

Twin Peaks, a new restaurant is coming to Warrenville, but it’s starting to be built mostly with out-of-state and non-signatory contractors. It’s housed in the old Stir Crazy restaurant at Diehl and Winfield roads.

Members from IBEW Local 701 were protesting Dave’s Electric for violating area standards.

“We’ll be out here as we need to be,” said IBEW Local 701 Business Representative/Membership Development Anthony Giunti.

He explained without Responsible Bidder language at the village or city level, it’s going to be a struggle for union members to work on projects.

“We’d love to see every village in DuPage County with a Responsible Bidder language, because it would cut down on this,” indicating the Scabby the Rat presence.

Scabby the Rat

Members of IBEW Local 701 were protesting Dave’s Electric Oct. 22 in Warrenville for violating area standards on the construction of a new Twin Peaks restaurant on Diehl and Winfield roads. Jennifer Rice/staff photographer

But it would also protect the public and cost less money in the long run through the trained union members working on the project.
DuPage County Joint Apprenticeship Training Committee IBEW Local 701 Training Director Henry Zurawski said his apprentices are worth it.
“We have five years of training; 8,000 hours. I have a $1.4 million annual training budget, which is all funded from membership — not taxpayer money,” Zurawski explained.

The construction is currently being done with non-union electrical. But that’s not to say things couldn’t change, and that what Giunti and others are hoping.

Several other Twin Peaks are scheduled to go up. If opening the lines of communication with general contractors now helps with future jobs, then the protest will be worth it.

“After you do something like this, you’d be surprised to find that the next ones are good. And that’s what we’re shooting for,” said IBEW Local 701 Business Representative/Membership Development Bob Perreault.

Even if signatory electricians don’t get in on the job, they are hoping others do.

“We might get the security, fire alarms or the cameras — we still have a shot at those,” Giunti explained.

Non-union labor triggers union protest

By Fox Valley Labor
News staff reports
Thursday, Sept. 18, 2014

CHICAGO — Multiple building trades visited the offices of Vivify Services and Michigan Avenue Real Estate Group to protest outside their offices on West Madison Street in Chicago Sept. 3.

LiUNA's Scabby the Rat protest
Photo courtesy of LiUNA
Scabby the Rat and the Fat Cat use their presence to shame Vivify Construction for building non-union in Chicago.

LiUNA's Scabby the Rat protest
Photo courtesy of LiUNA
Inflatables from several building trades line West Madison Avenue.

LiUNA's Scabby the Rat protest
Photo courtesy of LiUNA
Union members from several different building trades came together in solidarity to shame Michigan Real Estate for employing Vivify Construction to building non-union in Chicago.

Scabby the Rat sighting

Laborers' Local 149 and Scabby the Rat
Jennifer Rice/staff photographer
Laborers’ Local 149, left, were picketing Bruce Davis Construction in the east side of Aurora for paying substandard wages and benefits.

Scabby the Rat sighting

Laborers' Local 288 and Scabby the Rat
Photo courtesy of Laborers’ Local 288
Members of Laborer’s Local 288 picketed various locations against Miller Concrete out of West Chicago. They were protesting for not meeting area standards.

Scabby the Rat sighting

Roofers Local 11 and Scabby the Rat
Photo courtesy of Roofers Local 11
Roofers Local 11 put up Scabby the Rat on De Vries Roofing from Bridgeview, who was working at Zimmerman & Sandeman Funeral Homes in Oak Lawn.