By CARL GREEN
Collinsville, Ill. – Madison County residents are familiar with the small cards that Tiger Plumbing, Heating, Air Conditioning and Electrical Service mails out to offer their services. They may not know that Tiger is a doggedly non-union shop that has also been racking up consumer complaints and poor reviews online for its shoddy work.
On April 25, four Metro-East unions got together to get the word out that customers should stick with union plumbers, who provide high-quality service for fair prices, with a highly trained workforce.
Some 60 members of Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 101, Steamfitters Local 439, Plumbers & Gasfitters Local 360 and Ironworkers Local 392 gathered in the parking lot of Orchards Shopping Center, along Illinois 159, where Tiger has its offices and was planning to hold a job fair –– to hire more non-union workers.
Union members distributed handbills to passers-by, listing what they considered to be the company’s worst attributes, such as up-selling, bait-and-switch and high-pressure sales tactics.
“It gives the whole trade a bad name when a company acts like this,” said Don DeGonia, business manager of Local 360. “This is a way of getting information out to let the public know about it.”
BETTER BUSINESS BUREAU REPORT
One of the handbills included a public report from the Better Business Bureau, which states: “Better Business Bureau is advising consumers to use caution when considering doing business with Tiger Plumbing, Heating, Air Conditioning and Electrical Service. BBB has received a pattern of consumer complaints alleging inferior repairs, failure to issue refunds, failure to repair or pay for damage, high pressure sales tactics, leaving work areas a mess, charging inflated prices and overall poor customer service.”
Tiger’s reply to BBB noted that they had expanded into new territory, increased their number of calls and added electrical services. The BBB said: “Although the company responded, it did not specifically state how it intends to address the pattern of complaints.”
In addition to DeGonia, rank-and-file union members handbilling at the shopping center were joined by Southwestern Illinois Central Labor Council President and Local 101 member Scot Luchtefeld, Local 101 President Dan McKenna, Local 101 Business Manager Scott Deitz, and Local 439 Business Manager Mark Thomas.
“Supporting other unions is what it’s all about,” Local 392 apprentice Zach Eckols said.
The handbills listed 10 union companies that provide expert service for fair prices in the area, including:
• A&H Mechanical, East St. Louis, IL – 618-874-5588.
• Beloman, Belleville, IL – 618-235-6626.
• Bel-O Cooling and Heating, O’Fallon, IL – 618-632-5700.
• Dale Hendricks Plumbing, Collinsville, IL – 618-344-2198.
• Ehret Inc., Belleville, IL – 618-233-1018.
• Gerstner Plumbing, Breese, IL – 618-526-7846.
• Maxson Services, Lebanon, IL – 618-624-1173.
• Murphy Co., Olivette, MO – 314-997-6600.
• Vasquez Plumbing, New Athens, IL – 618-475-2351.
• Weinland Refrigeration, Belleville, IL – 618-355-0879.