Today was a great day for organized labor as well as the Jefferson County Democratic Committee. Although the weather wasn’t to our advantage many from across the region came to support our friends with Bricklayer and Allied Trades Local 2. The Jefferson County Committee started marching at just about 8am and we were so pleased to see many from across the region already on the march. What impressed us most was the true passion that many of the participants had for their fellow workers both Union and Non-Union.
As we walked we met many in labor that pointed out a series of faults in the $61 Million dollar expansion of the Samaritan Medical facility. There were a variety of Safety concerns for workers on the site. Some of the safety concerns include a lack of safety harnesses for workers near the edge of the building, as well as no safety fencing on platforms 40+ feet high. The Union workers also pointed out various construction flaws on the project. The eye for detail was incredible among those in Labor on the line. Ironically it was a labor leader on the line that pointed out to a non-union worker on the site that one of the finish concrete walls on the corner of Woodruff and Washington St had somehow been switched on installation. This caused a very noticeable 3” gap in alignment of the adjacent finish concrete dividers. We also found multiple instances of finish brick being pulled mid wall and replacement brick being installed in its place. One issue that concerned us was a rumor that was swirling that the newly constructed helipad will need to be replaced. That’s right..replaced. The scuttle butt was that the Helipad has in floor heating. Apparently the pex lines that are used to circulate heated fluid was filled with none other then H2O instead of Glycol (antifreeze). This caused the pad to freeze and crack. If true the Helipad that we’re sure cost a considerable amount of money will need to be replaced. We can only think that if a certified Union Plumber had been used to install those lines that this would have never have happened.
In our short 4 hour march we documented a variety of issues that concerned us about the quality of this project and the long term welfare of the employees. We call on all inspectors on this site to take special care when signing off on these jobs and make sure that the welfare of the workers is paramount. The need for Project Labor Agreements (PLA) on projects of this scale was never as apparent as it was today. The march on this site will continue through Wednesday and we ask all that are concerned about the long term safety of the workers on this site to join our friends in Labor.