Owners plan dark of night scheme to counter union picket
By TIM ROWDEN
Collinsville, IL – When members of Roofers Local 2 set up an informational picket to draw attention to the fact that Fairmount Park Race Track had hired Allstate Roofing – an out-of-state, non-union contractor paying below area standard wages and benefits – to repair and replace a portion of the roof, it didn’t take long for their action to have an impact.
Union employees at Fairmount – members of Laborers Local 44 and Teamsters Local 525 and IBEW 309 – honored the informational pickets March 31, refusing to cross the line and go to work on March 31 before the eight-race card that had been scheduled to start at 1 p.m. that day.
Fans were unaware of the issue until they started arriving at the track and were told the day’s races had been cancelled.
“That was really something,” said Local 2 President and Buisness Manager Dan O’Donnell. “All of them stuck together and they cancelled the races.”
Fairmount employees parked on the other side of Collinsville Road from the racetrack and watched as would be customers drove away – many honking their horns in support of the Roofers and Fairmont workers – and took their betting money with them.
Marvin Bell, a member of Laborers Local 44, wasn’t scheduled to work, but came out to stand with his fellow workers.
“I’m not working today, but I support the Roofers,” he said.
Tim Evans, business manager and financial secretary for IBEW 309 said his members called him when they got to the track and told him they would be honoring the picket.
“It was their decision,” Evans said. “It certainly got Fairmount’s attention though.”
'DARK OF NIGHT' SCHEME
Unfortunately, Fairmount’s owners soon refocused on cutting corners by using non-union labor for the roof work, telling O’Donnell, through an attorney, that the Allstate crew would be working at night from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m., meaning the roofers couldn’t picket during regular business hours, but only during the overnight hours when the non-union workers are on site.
“They’re going to continue with their normal operations,” O’Donnell said. “They’re trying to downplay this like it’s jus a small repair, but they’re actually replacing a pretty good portion of the roof.”
DON’T BET ON IT
O’Donnell said he had received several telephone calls at the Local 2 offices from other union members and supporters who said they would no longer patronize Fairmount.
He said he also planned to request the race track be placed on the Southwestern Illinois Building Trades’ “Do Not Patronize” list.