About two dozen members of the Northeast Regional Council of Carpenters staged a noisy demonstration Tuesday outside the One Canalside construction site, targeting a contractor working on a segment of the project.
Sign-toting union members blew whistles and chanted slogans aimed at Elma-based Gypsum Systems, while marching past the Scott Street entrance to the site. The One Canalside project, led by Benderson Development, is rebuilding the former Donovan State Office Building.
Daryl Bodewes, council representative for the Northeast Regional Council of Carpenters, said Gypsum prevailed in bidding on a segment of work over a firm the carpenters union works with, Mader Construction. He questioned whether the process was conducted fairly, based on his own calculations.
“We think some games are being played here, obviously,” Bodewes said. “We feel area standard wages and benefits should be paid on all projects for all carpenters.”
Fred Boeheim, Gypsum’s chief executive officer, said his firm compensates its workers well, contrary to the union’s complaint. “We’re a merit shop [contractor] who pays people by their merit,” he said.
As for the bidding process, Boeheim said: “Everybody had a fair opportunity to bid and negotiate the work the best they can.”
Bodewes said union members are “hoping there are more phases to this project and we want our contractors to have a fair shot at bidding it.”