New Businesses Met with Union Protests in Ferndale (video)

New Businesses Met with Union Protests (video)

(Crystal A. Proxmire, Dec. 12, 2014)

The new shops on Woodward Avenue just north of Cambourne are nearing completion, with independently-owned waterworkfranchises like Dickey’s BBQ, Sports Clips, and Verizon just getting settled in, and newcomers like LaVida Massage and Rocket Novelty & Candy ready to serve customers.

Though business owners have been greeted by customers and typical Ferndale well-wishers, they’ve also been met with protests.

Since Monday protestors from The Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters have been out front of the recently built shopping center, passing out fliers in opposition of the company that built it, Tower Construction.

The fliers, which show a rat eating an American flag, state “a rat is a contractor that does not pay all of its employees the Area Standard Wages, including either providing or making payments for health care and pension benefits. Judy_Palmer30yearsShame on Tower Construction LLC for contributing to the erosion of Area Standards for carpenter craft workers.” The flier said “Shame on Tower Construction LLC for the Desecration of the American Way of Life.” A banner held by three men stretches nearly across two storefronts.

One of the protestors, named Ray, said “the company that built these buildings, Tower Construction, a subsidiary of Jona, they don’t pay the carpenters standard wage and benefits… My guess is, don’t quote me on this, a lot of its subcontracted.”

He added “If people are going to cut corners and hire non-standard kind of people, then what kind of carpenter are you going to be able to call on to build your house twenty years from now?”

When asked if Tower was using non-licensed carpenters, the protestor said “I don’t know. I can’t speak on behalf of what sidebar012stairsthey’re doing. I know that the union researches these sites very specifically.”

The protestor said that he is a paid protestor, but that he believes in what he is doing and would do it for free. He also said that he is a carpenter when there is work.

As Rocket Novelty and Candy prepared for their grand opening on Friday, the protestors planned on being there to protest. “We’ll probably shop there when we’re done. It looks like they have a lot of cool stuff in their building,” Ray said.

Ray said he does not think the protests hurt the businesses inside the center. “We certainly get enough calls from people driving by. I would think if anything it enhances people’s businesses,” Ray said. “People are going to be more ‘oh wow, what’s going on down there?’”

Brent Jamil, who opened the Verizon store seven months ago, said he asked the protestors to consider the harm they were doing to the businesses. “When I explained to them how it’s kind chazzano game adof affecting the businesses that are supporting the Ferndale community and how whatever you’re doing is not getting the attention of the actual owner of the shopping center, that its more hurting the tenants of the shopping center, they told me basically to go fly a kite and the next morning they were camped out directly in front of my store,” he said.

“People can’t really see what the sign says, they just see protestors out in front of my store and it looks like something kind of directed towards me even though its not,” he said.

“It’s not something so much that I’m against, I agree with the cause. I think they’re right in a lot of the things they stand for, but it’s more of where they’re doing [it], and what they’re doing. I’m the collateral damage.

“There’s a grand opening next door… these people are supporting the Ferndale area, they’ve joined the Chamber, and they want to have a successful grand opening. It justferncareAD doesn’t look good when you have three people outside protesting against the shopping center.”

Ray’s flier provided a phone number for the Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters. No one answered the phone after several attempts, and there is no voicemail. A website for Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters seems to have no reference to protests, rats, Tower Construction etc and no one at the office on Friday had any knowledge of the protests taking place.

Jason Gekiere, owner of Tower Construction, was reached but said that he had no comment.

Here are stories of similar protests around the country:

http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2011/09/02/union_rats_show_up_to_play_at_toy_building_jayzs_club.phpnicholas-schrock-allstate

http://www.nj.com/middlesex/index.ssf/2014/09/new_brunwick_trade_union_protests_rat-contractors_over_wages.html

http://www.inlander.com/spokane/the-shame-game/Content?oid=2139392

http://ridehomehappy.com/index.php/blog/post/Not-ashamed-subaru-of-wichita

http://www.lansingcitypulse.com/lansing/article-5971-labor-dispute-or-union-tactic.html

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