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Jun
2013
17

Shhhhhhhh-ame! Building Trades Hold Silent Protest to Oppose Out-of-State Hiring at NY Mall

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Last week, several hundred union workers held a silent protest at the Palisades Center Mall in West Nyack, NY, to help inform the public about out-of-state workers being used on a multi-million dollar renovation.  

The workers wore bright yellow T-shirts which read, “Shame on you Palisades Mall” on the front and, “For hiring out-of-state construction workers” on the back. They were clear about their criticism of mall management as opposed to boycotting any specific business.

“We just want local business to partner with local labor for the betterment of the community,” [Stephen J. Reich, business manager of Laborers Local 754], said. “We have local people who need jobs and who spend their money at the mall and in the county.”

Reich said that there is a long, positive history between the mall and the unions. When the mall was originally built, the project had support from local unions despite being unpopular with community groups.  In the past, the mall has hired locally.  When the unions approached mall management about the new wave of work he says they were brushed off.

Because the project is privately-funded, prevailing wage standards do not apply.  Out-of-state workers are currently earning between $13 to $25 an hour without benefits.  Union workers on the project would have earned around $45 an hour with benefits. Hiring out-of-state allows the company to suppress local wages and disables the community from consumer gains associated with these jobs. The silent protest was organized by Laborers Local 754 and the Rockland Building Trades which includes the Local 7 Tile, Marble and Terrazzo union.

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