Long gone are the days when we could watch the economy in other continents suffer while we sat immune.
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., July 21, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The abrupt layoffs of 300 employees of Lamar Construction without notice; and according to various news reports, without their last week of pay is a callous reminder of the disregard some contractors have for their work force. According to Ironworkers North Central States District Council President Colin Millard, "The Ironworkers union is working with solid contractors who have positions immediately available for these laid off workers. These reputable contractors will guarantee their wages and provide real insurance benefits, training, pensions and fair conditions of employment so workers don't end up experiencing the same kind of workplace issues 6 months from now that they had when working at Lamar."
The union applauds efforts to help displaced workers find family-supporting jobs, but voiced concern over the potential quality of the positions offered through the Associated Builders and Contractors organization. "The ABC was founded as a radical political organization for construction employers and has traditionally acted in the interest of business owners, often at the expense of the workers," said Millard. "The ABC's offer makes no mention of the quality of jobs these workers may be offered. It would be a further injustice to the workers to have to, once again, endure substandard employment when there are many good contractors offering real benefits and opportunities for advancement with positions open for skilled, quality workers. These workers deserve quality jobs."
The ABC has a long history of opposing efforts to improve worker health and safety regulatory improvements and attacking Project Labor Agreements and prevailing wages, designed to ensure that government projects create good jobs and stabilize local economies. The ABC has given Lamar Construction several awards in the past generally reserved for their members, including one for "Excellence in Construction Safety." Recent news reports have revealed that the company has had over 100 safety violations by OSHA in the past 10 years.
Millard states, "Under Lamar, these workers have had to endure a contractor that stole from them through wage theft, cheated building owners through the use of fraudulent welding certifications and swindled the insurance companies through acts of worker's comp fraud. What the workers need now is fair employment that gives them a voice on the jobsite and guarantees their wages and benefits."
The International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental & Reinforcing Ironworkers represents over 120,000 workers in the United States & Canada, including nearly 5000 union iron workers and their families in Michigan.
Contact: Colin Millard, PresidentIronworkers North Central States District CouncilPh: 920-485-0501
SOURCE Ironworkers International Union