Building Trades, Features, Finance, Labor News Briefs, Law and Politics, National

Building Trades’ Inflatable Rat Meets Villanova Wildcat

November 13, 2018

By Steve Wishnia and Neal Tepel

RADNOR, Pa.—Members of the Sheet Metal Workers of Philadelphia brought a 12-foot inflatable rat to the home of the Villanova Wildcats Oct. 30, protesting the university’s use of nonunion laborers on its new Performing Arts Center. The nonunion Delaware contractor brought in to finish the project will pay its workers “easily” at least $8,000 less than union members earn, protester Steve Knecht told the university newspaper The Villanovan, and those savings also come at the cost of workers’ rights and jobs for qualified workers with years of training. “We’re just trying to fight for what we started a hundred years ago,” said Sheet Metal Workers member Tony Dragan. An executive for LF Driscoll, the construction company in charge of the Arts Center project, declined to comment. A university spokesperson said most campus construction is done by union workers, and that wages on the project “far exceed the Pennsylvania minimum wage” of $7.25 an hour. “Basically, we’re trying to get the University to put pressure on [the construction company],” Knecht said. But some students were hostile: “We… had a kid spit on the rat and kick it,” he added. “They just don’t understand what we’re here for.” Read more

November 13, 2018

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