Jan 10, 2006

Labor Protest On Monroe Street

Left: Members of carpenters' union picket; photo by historymike

(Toledo, OH) A restaurant under construction on Monroe Street was the site of protest today, as members of the Ohio Regional Council of Carpenters gathered to protest the use of non-union workers at the future Famous Dave's Barbecue.

"We are picketing because this contractor is not paying prevailing wages," said union member Terry Bishop. "We think people should know that Famous Dave's is just famous for not using contractors who pay area standard wages and benefits."

Construction manager Roger Phillips, speaking for the owners, disagreed with the assessment of the Minnetonka, MN chain.

"We are using a non-union carpenter contractor, but every other trade is represented by union workers," he said. "There were five union carpenter contractors who bid, and all of them were above the contractor we chose."

Phillips disagreed with the characterization of Famous Dave's portrayed by the protesters.

"We are not anti-union in any sense of the word," he said.


Hooda Thunkit said...

Well then, I guess that clears everything up, now dosen't it...

Famous Dave's is probably gambling (based on experience) that all will be forgotten in a couple of months and no permanent financial harm will come to the franchise.

IMO, they're probably right...

historymike said...

Good bet, Hooda. People's memories are pretty short.

Stephanie said...

Hey, I have a Famous Dave's in my town and it's good food. They're famous for their award-winning bbq sauce.

As for the union aspect...in my area the unions are that which screws people over, so...I'm not feeling their pain.

historymike said...

Understood, Steph.

Toledo is a huge union town, though not as union-dominated as it once was. Many people still get quite ticked when the traditional "rules" of the game do not get followed.

However, in the old days a place like Famous Dave's would be likely to have bad things happen, like fires, vandalism, or bricks thrown at scabs.

Stephanie said...

I'm not going to include my town here (for obvious reasons) but my area is highly industrialized/union as well. We made number ten on some big national list, which is pretty good for a bunch of relatively small communities.

As it is, GM and its supporting companies make up an estimated 60 - 90% of our local economy, so when GM goes under this whole area does as well. Every time there's a blip in their performance there's panic. It's so stupid how it's all happened this way, and yet we're dumping a ton of tax dollars into improving our infrastructure to seduce them to stay a few more years.

It's all so ridiculous! Asinine and a bunch of other not so nice words!

As for the union aspect, the big one around here cares more about politics than laborers and have been known to get anyone who speaks out against that truth fired. It's not pretty and my opinion of unions is pretty much gauged by it now. They're so solid that they don't even worry about the obvious conflict of interests any more.

And yeah, we've had the vandalism thing, too. It used to be (before I lived here, thankfully) that you drive a foreign-made vehicle around town on a day when there were temporary lay-offs and you were gaurenteed a damaged vehicle by the end of the day.

Lisa Renee said...

Some employers here won't let you park a foreign car in the work parking lot. I remember when my dad worked for one of the steel companies, if you had a non-american made car you had to park it across the street in the "other" lot.


Stephanie said...

I'm not surprised. Though I must say a GM employee who drove a foreign-made car must be getting too many fumes.

Lloyd said...

I have been on the other side of this situation. I worked for a small business man several years ago who had a construction project. The union sniffed this out and threatened a picket if he didn't use Union labor. Frankly it was a small project and was completed by 5-10 handyman type of guys, but I think the union found out from the requests for building permits.

I did have to empathize with him. Shouldn't it have been his right to hire who he wants to?

Stephanie said...


"Shouldn't it have been his right to hire who he wants to?"

As long as they build up to code, of course it should.

It sounds like (in Toledo) unions are less about prevents people from getting screwwed as about screwwing people on behalf of unions.