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San Jose Plumbers Union Pickets Use of Out-of-State Workers

(pic by Nathan Donato-Weinstein)

(pic by Nathan Donato-Weinstein)

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Members of Plumbers and Steamfitters Local 393 have been picketing the One South Market apartment complex in San Jose, California, claiming that out of town, non-union contractors are being used on the $150 million apartment tower and being paid below the area’s prevailing wage.  Sacramento-based Iron Mechanical is currently installing plumbing, mechanical, and sheet metal systems on the complex despite being based two hours from the job site.  

Bill Guthrie, Business Manager of Local 393, told the Silicon Valley Business Journal that the savings provided by bringing in Iron Mechanical are coming at the expense of the local workforce. “Local people should have the opportunity to work in their own community,” Guthrie said. “Why are we not being given an opportunity to work here?”

Construction is on the come up in San Jose, but Local 393 is still experiencing 12 percent unemployment.  The local claims that, at its peak, Iron Mechanical had 35 workers on the project, almost all of which could have come from the local union.  The local claims that leaving out local workers is solely about lowering labor costs and has nothing to do with quality of work. 

The protest was planned to coincide with Veterans Day.  Marine Corps veteran Tim Green joined the action, “to help safeguard the standard of living that union jobs provide.”  As he told the Business Journal:

My thing is, I was able to come home and make a decent salary,” he told me. “They’re paying (these non-union workers) below-local wages and benefits. They hired guys to build a building, but we want to build a community.”


2 Comments on “San Jose Plumbers Union Pickets Use of Out-of-State Workers”

  1. Yeah… because I want to hire plumbers in San Jose, CA that do not realize that Sacramento, CA (the state capitol, you would think SOMEONE down at the hall would know this) is in the same state they are in.

  2. 12 percent pine riders in one of the most booming construction markets in the country says something quite loudly as well. Just sayin”.

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