Last week we broke news of a protests outside a Wal-Mart construction site in Lakeville, Minnesota, and this weekend that protest grew larger as Ironworkers Local 512 members have sounded the solidarity alarm and other unions have followed in support of the non-union workers on the job site. Exploitation of workers by AME Construction of Wayzata, the contractor responsible for the steel in the new Wal-Mart, has been rampant according to the protestors:
According to Local 512, members from other unions including metal workers, pipefitters, roofers, electricians, carpenters, and bricklayers, participated in the march.
“We are not criticizing the workers on this job,” said Charlie Roberts, who is a Lakeside resident and business manager for Local 512. “We are here to send the message loud and clear to AME’s executives that they are exploiting the workers.”
Local 512 is calling this a “non-union” issue and are taking to the streets to promote higher wages for all. As the Minnesota GOP brings the “Right-to-Work” crusade to the North Star State in the form of the Employee Freedom Act, workers are mobilizing to make sure their unions don’t succumb to the chilling effect of anti-worker actors:
Roberts said the protests simply aren’t about the skills and abilities of AME’s workers, or even about the project being given to non-union workers.
“This is about supporting and representing the workers in there,” Roberts told Patch last week. “It’s not a union or non-union thing.”
“We must preserve the wages and high level of training needed to do this work safely and productively. We’ve had enough with AME taking advantage of the workers. This must stop.”
Roberts said this is the first time the union has picketed a job site in Minnesota since the late 1990s.