By TIM ROWDEN
International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 1 is calling out the St. Louis-Kansas City Carpenters Regional Council for replacing a Local 1 union contractor already on the job with a substandard Local 57 contractor, Reinhold Electric, for work at the Carpenters union hall at 1401 Hampton Ave., St. Louis.
IBEW Local 1 picketed the project Friday, June 14, to let the public and fellow union members know about the Carpenters’ actions even as a Carpenters’ signatory contractor Miller & Maack Construction, has five union carpenters doing work at Local 1’s union hall.
IBEW, Local 1 Business Manager Frank Jacobs said, “Labor leaders should have trade unionist values. As a trade unionist you should do what is right by union crafts.”
Kaemmerlen Electric, an IBEW Local 1 signatory contractor, was originally subcontracted to do temperature control work at the Carpenters’ hall. Dave Schumaker, a journeyman wireman with Kaemmerlen was on site running conduit when a Carpenters business agent told him to leave and informed him that Local 57 contractor Reinhold would be completing the work.
Local 57 is a non-AFL-CIO electricians “union” within the Carpenters’ District Council. Electricians working for Reinhold and working under the Local 57 contract receive wages and benefits far below the area standards for electricians.
After the picket went up, IBEW, Local 1 received a letter from the Carpenters’ in-house attorney mandating the use of a dual-gate system, effective Saturday, June 15. The dual gate system is a classic union-busting employer’s move to force picketers away from the main entrance of a project or property in an effort to avoid having other union workers refuse to cross the picket line.