LABORERS LOCAL 592 PICKETS SCHOOL JOB IN HACKENSACK, BECAUSE A "UNION" GC USED NON UNION SUBS ON THE SITE
Picketing slows construction of $9M school in Hackensack
By TOM DAVIS-Staff Writer
Tue, 27 Mar 2001
HACKENSACK -- A dispute over the use of non-union labor compelled most of the 30 people working on the Hackensack school district's $9 million building project to walk out Friday and Monday, slowing work to a crawl.
Superintendent Joseph Montesano said he doesn't expect the labor action to delay the September opening of the new fifth and sixth-grade school on State Street.
The building will be next to the district's middle school, which currently houses Hackensack's sixth, seventh, and eighth grades.
But Montesano said the district may seek a court injunction to curtail picketing of the site, and force workers to return.
"We're working very hard to resolve it," said Montesano.
About four of the project's employees are from the International Laborers Union Local 592, which sponsored the picketing. But John Mancini, a union organizer, said no laborers union members working on the school actually walked the picket line.
"We're trying to help the men. That's what we're supposed to do," said laborers union member John McClary of Lodi, picketing the site Friday. He said he is unemployed.
Mancini said several carpenters and masonry workers from other unions honored the picket line.
The laborers union, whose members assist carpentry and masonry workers, is upset that the project's general contractor, Chanree of Ortley Beach, has subcontracted for non-union labor.
On Friday and Monday, the laborers union set up a 15-foot inflatable rat, which is supposed to symbolize Chanree's allegedly hostile attitude toward labor.
On both days, police told the union to take down the balloon after about an hour, saying it was blocking the sidewalk. Chanree did not return telephone calls seeking comment.
The balloon caused some drivers to slow down to get a look and even honk their horns. But children attending Hackensack Middle School missed it because the balloon was set up after school started around 8 a.m.
Staff Writer Maia Davis' e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org