Picketers Leave, Construction Continues

7 years 2 months 3 days ago Tuesday, October 12 2010 Oct 12, 2010 Tuesday, October 12, 2010 7:47:26 PM CDT October 12, 2010 in News
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COLUMBIA - Construction resumed Tuesday morning on the new Columbia high school on St. Charles Road, after union picketers protested the use of some non-union workers hired for the project last week.

JE Dunn Contracting is the general contractor for the project, but has hired sub-contractors for many different components of the job. One of those sub-contractors, Questec, was hired to work on heating and cooling in the buildings. Questec also sub-contracted out to another company -- Sunbelt Environmental Services - which provided the non-union workers.

JE Dunn Construction sent an email to all project contractors and the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 513 on Friday, announcing there would be two entrances into the construction site where employees could enter. The memo also requested the picketers stay at just one of those gates.

Residents in the neighborhood across the street from the high school told KOMU 8 only three or four picketers stood outside each day, and remained respectful and peaceful.

Bill Suddarth is the local business representative for the 513's Columbia area. He said the union workers stopped picketing because the contracted workers needed to get back to work. The issue has not yet been resolved, but Suddarth would not comment on further plans.

"The school district's responsibility and primary interest is making sure that the employees are being paid the prevailing wage as required by law for a project like this," said Columbia Public School District spokeswoman Michelle Baumstark. She said the project will continue as planned.

The new high school is set to open fall of 2013.

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