Local 110 rep bullied by general contractor; jobsite evacuated for unsafe carbon monoxide levels
By SHERI GASSAWAY
Fenton, MO – Laborers Local 110 is picketing a new Club Fitness under construction here for using a non-union subcontractor for concrete work that pays far below the area standard wages and benefits established by the union.
Local 110 Business Agent Rob Reed said Russo Construction Co., a non-union company, is working on renovations inside the new gym at 739 Gravois Bluffs Blvd. in the building that used to house Gander Mountain.
Russo hired non-union subcontractor B. L. Haverstick Concrete, LLC to do demolition work on the project.
Reed set up a picket in front of the jobsite on July 18 to alert the public that Club Fitness was using the non-union subcontractor for concrete work. Passersby honked and gave the thumbs-up to support Local 110. Then, Russo Construction President Tony Russo visited the site.
“He sped up and swerved by me in his truck,” Reed said. “Then he sped through the parking lot, came back and asked me ‘What can I do or pay you to make you go away?’”
“I told him ‘First don’t swerve toward me in your truck, and second, hire a reputable subcontractor,’” Reed said. “I gave him a list of union contractors, but I doubt it will make a difference.”
JOBSITE TEMPORARILY SHUT DOWN
The day before, Reed learned from a worker onsite, that the jobsite had been temporarily shut down due to high carbon monoxide levels caused by gas equipment being used inside the building by Haverstick workers.
The Labor Tribune verified that information with Fenton Fire Department Marshall Chris Thiemann, who said the department received a complaint July 17 regarding a smell of gas at the worksite.
“We tested the carbon monoxide levels, and some were over 80 parts per million,” Thiemann said. “OSHA’s standards state that the levels can’t be over 52 parts per million in an eight-hour period.”
Thiemann said the department evacuated the building due to unsafe carbon monoxide levels. He said the subcontractor’s workers were cutting concrete with saws powered by gas engines and there was little ventilation in the building.
“Our main concern was to ensure the safety of all the workers in the building because there were other subcontractors in there as well,” Thiemann said.
Thiemann said he met with the project’s developer and the general contractor the following day and the subcontractor agreed to bring in different equipment to lessen carbon monoxide emissions.
Thiemann said OSHA had requested copies of the department’s visit to the jobsite.
DO NOT PATRONIZE
Local 110 is asking the public not to patronize the new Club Fitness when it opens this fall.