Painters District Council 58 uses innovative bedbugs & handbill in protest at new TownePlace Suites in Chesterfield

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By SHERI GASSAWAY
Correspondent

SLEEP TIGHT: To drive home the fact the new TownePlace Suites by Marriot in Chesterfield used a non-union company that pays far below the area standard wages and benefits set by Painters District Council 58 for painting and taping, Council 58 members handbilled at the hotel’s grand opening dressed as bedbugs and an exterminator. The costumes highlighted another area where the hotel chain has apparently cut corners – bedbug infestations. Taking the message to the public are (from left) Painters Local 115 Field Representative Otto Schoenberg, Painters Local 2341 Field Representative Wendell Harris, Glaziers Local 513 Organizer John Deeken and Painters Local 1156 Organizer John Whitworth. – Gary Otten/Painters District Council 58 photo

Chesterfield, MO – Members of Painters District Council 58 – dressed in eye-catching bedbug and exterminator garb – handbilled the new TownePlace Suites by Marriot at the hotel’s grand opening to alert the public that the hotel chain used Illinois Valley Drywall, of Mendota, IL, a non-union contractor that pays far below the area standard wages and benefits set by Council 58 for painting and taping.

“If they’re cutting corners by not using union labor, we wondered what other corners TownePlace Suites by Marriott hotels were cutting to save a buck,” said Painters Local 115 Field Representative Otto Schoenberg, who helped with the handbilling.

THE BEDBUGS BITE
To find the answer to that question, Painters DC 58 didn’t have to look very far. They simply turned to Yelp.com, a website where the public can post reviews of local businesses.

Two reviews on other TownePlace Suites owned by Marriott stood out with complaints about bedbugs. Painters DC 58 added those reviews to their handbill and dressed in bedbug and exterminator costumes to drive the point home.

BEDBUGS DO BITE and visitors at various Marriott TownePlace Suites around the nation have complained about them so picketers from Painters District Council 58 make that point as they conduct novel picketing to expose Marriott for using a non-union drywall contractor who pays wages and benefits below area standards at its new Chesterfield location. Painters Local 115 Field Rep. Otto Schoenberg recoils as a bed bug would do if being properly sprayed, in this case by Painters Local 2341 Field Rep Wendell Harris. According to customer comments online, even when they complained Marriott failed to respond and the bedbugs persisted. – Garry Otten photo/Painters District Council 58

The handbill includes a Yelp review from Brett G in Denver, NC, whose family stayed at one of the hotels in Mooresville, NC, and states: “This hotel has bed bugs. My family is covered in bites. No one with Marriott will call us back. We’ve been trying to reach someone for four days.”

Another review from Frank D in Cibalo, Texas, states: “Bed bugs!!!! Do not stay here. We informed the front desk about our concerns that there were bed bugs in our room after our first night. After returning from our son’s basic training graduation, we were assured that the room was clean and bug free. After our second night, my wife was covered in bites. Some became infected and left permanent scars.

“Their parent company Marriott, the Hotel Management and their insurance company (Chubb Services) have been less then apologetic. Marriott Cares passes the buck to the hotel, the hotel doesn’t even acknowledge the issue.”

The new hotel is located at 748 Premium Way near the outlet mall in Chesterfield Valley.

Painters DC 58 is asking the public not to patronize the hotel.


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