published Thursday, May 26th, 2011

Carpenters picket downtown hotels

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    Picketers from the MidSouth Çarpenters Union protest against the downtown Doubletree and Hampton Inns hotels where some construction work was previously done by nonunion subcontractors. Staff Photo by Dave Flessner/Chattanooga Times Free Press
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Nearly two months after construction ended, pickets from the Tri-State Carpenters union continue to protest the downtown hotels where nonunion subcontractors were used in the past.

Representatives from the MidSouth Regional Council and protesters on the site declined to talk about their protest, and union officials did not return repeated requests for an interview.

The pickets began displaying banners claiming “Shame on Hampton Inn” and “Shame on Doubletree” nearly six months ago when EMJ Corp., the general contractor for the Hampton Inn and Suites hotel on Chestnut Street, didn’t employ unionized carpenters on the project.

In brochures handed out to those entering the hotels, pickets blame the builders of the hotel “for contributing to the erosion of area standards” and “for desecration of the American way of life.” The union claims that nonunion K&B Drywall, which was hired for part of the hotel construction, “does not meet area labor standards” or fully pay for family health care benefits.

The pickets want Vision Hospitality, which owns the hotel, “to see that area labor standards are met.”

But Mitch Patel, owner of Vision Hospitality, said he hired EMJ, which has used both union and nonunion subcontractors in the past, for the work.

“Any developer will tell you that the issue is between the general contractor and the subcontractor when bidding and building the project,” he said. “It is not about nor has anything to do with the building owner.”

Although the protesters claim a “labor dispute” on their banner, there is no current dispute among those employed at the hotels. The disputed construction work was done months ago, Patel said.

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Humphrey said...

freedom of speech and assembly. I guess the middle class in America where people can make a decent wage are a relic too.

May 26, 2011 at 8:13 a.m.
huskernation said...

Really, with so much going on in the country today, these miss-guided, uninformed folks with a sense of entitlement are attempting to extort businesses with harassment. They can’t even picket, they sit in chairs drinking coffee and they wonder why self respecting general contractor doesn’t want to hire them. I wouldn’t hire a union contractor, carpenter or other if I had to, I’d rather pay more to workers who demonstrates work ethic and character… not to someone who believes he's entitled because of the card he carries - actions speak volumes!!!

May 26, 2011 at 8:24 a.m.
dao1980 said...

I worked alongside the carpenters union for a few years as a carpenter installing and finishing hardwood floors in residential and commercial properties in and around the downtown area.

There is no way I would ever subscribe to the rampant idiocy that is propagated by this group, or any union for that matter.

All I can say is, shoddy work, more time spent complaining than producing, unprofessional demeanor, pompous attitude, etc. etc. Pretty much all of the things you would expect from any group of idiots that feel need to pay dues to act like buddies.

My somewhat inflammatory joke was always, "that's alright fellas, I have plenty of friends, I don't need a bunch of store bought ones as well."

And hey, if your craftsmanship is of a very high quality and second to none, you can charge a little more for the job and be thanked graciously for it. Our crew even occasionally received a bonus from the property owner for a mistake free expanse of perfectly installed, sanded, and finished wood. Probably during the same time these union folks were having a meeting somewhere discussing how to force potential customers to pay more for a job that would be less than perfect.

May 26, 2011 at 8:34 a.m.
KWVeteran said...

Unions picketing... the epitome of liberalism and freeloading that has become the way of life for democrats.

May 26, 2011 at 8:41 a.m.
Oz said...

Unions are only good for paying below average workers above average wages. If you are the best. Why would you support the worst being paid the same wage?

May 26, 2011 at 10:29 p.m.
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