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Carpenters union pickets Atascadero water company

Posted: Friday, Jan 29th, 2010


Amanda Boronda/Atascadero News Members of the Carpenters Local 150 picketed in front of the Atascadero Mutual Water Company Thursday in what they said was a dispute over non-labor drywall contractors.




Atascadero Mutual Water Company general Manager John Neil said he’s confused by a recent turn of events that led to members of the carpenters union to picket in front of the business.

Members of the Carpenters Local 150 picketed in front of the Atascadero Mutual Water Company Thursday saying the company was accepting job bids from non-union drywall contractors with questionable practices.

In a letter to the water company dated Jan. 19, the Local 150 President Joseph Duran wrote, “we are asking that you use your managerial discretion to not allow any non area standard contractor to perform any work on any of your projects unless and until they generally meet area labor standards for all of their carpentry craft work.”

Neil said he found the letter “baffling” and doesn’t understand what the problem is.

“Frankly, I found their letter threatening ... I think there was a misconception that we’re a public water company, but we’re a private company, and we’re following our regular procedures for getting bids.”

In the union letter, Duran went on to say anyone associated with a project with such businesses would be impacted by the union’s “aggressive public information campaign.

“We want you to be aware that our new and aggressive public information campaign against these companies will impact all parties associated with projects where they are employed,” Duran said in the letter. “That campaign will include highly visible lawful banner displays and distribution of handbills at the job site and premises of property owners, developers, general contractors and other firms involved with projects involving a non area standard contractor.”

Duran’s staff said he couldn’t be reached for comment, and there was no one available to talk at union headquarters.

In its own letter, dated Jan. 21, Neil asked questions regarding what he describes as issues of clarification.

“Please provide us with a list of [the contractors who do not meet area labor standards] for the industry,” Neil wrote. “... please note that that AMWC is a private company and does not use government money in the construction of its projects; therefore, there is no requirement for AMWC to pay prevailing wages as required under the Davis-Bacon Act.”

When asked what response to his return letter, Neil said there was none.

“The response we got was them showing up in front of our office today,” he said. “We spoke to them, and they had no other information. Our contractor hired a drywall company to perform work for them, so it’s a sub-contractor for our contractor, and apparently there’s a disagreement between that sub-contractor and the union, but we don’t know what it is.”

Neil added that he hires union employees to work for the water company.

“Our field guys are all union guys, they’re represented by the teamsters union,” he said.











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