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Union ties!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Members of the United Union of Roofers Local, Terre Haute No. 150 are picketing the roofing work on Meridian Elementary. Standing on the line include (from left) Jeff Hayes, Stephen Ellis, Danny Switzer, Dana Payne and Kyle Layman. Kimberly Gleason Photo. [Order this photo]
* Protest at Meridian Elementary against non-union roofing crew

Parts of the elementary school building renovation project have been put on hold because of picketing.

United Union of Roofers Local, Terre Haute No. 150 members are upset because they feel "cheated" the roofing work at Meridian Elementary is not being done by union workers.

"The majority of the work done on this site has gone to union workers," representative Jeff Hayes said. "Horning Roofing (Indianapolis) is a non-union company."

Horning was awarded the roofing contracts for bid package three (Meridian, Staunton and East Side Elementary Schools) and bid package four (Clay City Elementary, Forest Park Elementary, Jackson Township Elementary and Van Buren Elementary Schools) in September 2009.

Hayes is a firm believer in keeping money in the community.

"If it was a union job, then the money earned by the roofers would stay here," he said. "Union members who live in Clay County and pay taxes in Clay County are watching that money go to people that don't live in Clay County."

There was a previous picket line at Staunton Elementary a few months ago.

Clay Community Schools Building and Grounds Director Tom Reberger commented on how the only construction currently taking place at Meridian is the roofing because the other workers who are unionized cannot cross the picket line.

"The union has chosen to picket the job site because the roofing contractor is non-union," he said. "There is no law that the workers must belong to a union. Everything Clay Community Schools has done as far as awarding the contract has been within the law."

According to both Reberger and Hayes, there will be some changes made within the next week or so. A second gate will be set up on the property where union employees may enter. Certified letters will be sent out when that second gate is completed. At that time, construction will resume on the building and the picket line can only remain at the non-union entrance.

Though construction has slowed due to the picket, Principal Karen Phillips commented on how it has not affected the education in the classrooms.

"Classes are continuing," she said. "This has not had an impact on the students education at Meridian."

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Was out at Staunton Elementary the other night in the evening (after hours) and there was about 25 mexicans working on the roof there. Guess you cant blame it all on the mexicans, but would like to know if the contractor is legit. American tax money hard at work in mexico.

Hold that line boys!

-- Posted by lifehasitsmoments on Wed, May 5, 2010, at 11:18 PM

What I can't wait for is for our healthcare to be unionized. It's coming. Once they get single payer on line, the next step will be to unionize all in the healthcare industry. Great book written in the 1990's by Dr. Thomas Sowell "The Vision of the Annointed". Much like George Orwell's "1984". Big brother is coming. He is just shoving it down our throats slowly so it won't taste so bad.

-- Posted by Conservative Dad on Thu, May 6, 2010, at 7:18 AM

Are all the gentlemen in the photograph residents of Clay County? With the financial difficulties evryone is experiencing, is it not responsible for the school board to find the most cost effective way to improve their buildings?

-- Posted by madman36 on Thu, May 6, 2010, at 7:38 AM


-- Posted by Kirk Smith on Thu, May 6, 2010, at 8:39 AM

I say give the work to 25 union members in this community instead of the 25 mexicans. The union members will pay taxes and spend the money back in our community. The mexicans are probably being cheated out of a fair days pay and have no benefits. They are also probably getting $8.00/hr and will never pay income tax or property tax that helps our community.

-- Posted by Kirk Smith on Thu, May 6, 2010, at 8:45 AM

Whatever. Get out of the way and let the work continue. Oh, and send a more competitive bid next time and maybe you'll be on the roof instead of holding silly signs at the gate.

-- Posted by brazilian on Thu, May 6, 2010, at 9:53 AM

I sure you all have your facts straight about the "mexicans" and their pay rate. Sounds like you have done extensive research and have seen the contract they were working under but that has nothing to do with this article.

It's a shame that when the union people get their feathers ruffled they come out and pickett. That's really great...happy that you have that kind of time to stand around and do NOTHING but look like ridiculous whiners! Maybe the non-union people should do the same. Hey, that's it....let all the non-union people get a bunch of signs bashing the scab union contracts and we can all stand around and do NOTHING but look like a bunch of pathetic whiners!

I agree with "brazilian" 100% on this one!

-- Posted by Proud of My Country on Thu, May 6, 2010, at 11:01 AM

Standing around because the job was given to mexicans, thats being a whiner ? What has happened to American heritage philosophy that made this country great ? Would you really say all this open border, no accountability and not paying taxes is the right thing to do ? Someone started quoting the Bible the other day, so I will follow suit, It says PAY YOUR TAXES. I have nothing against the mexicans getting a job here or coming here, they need to do it legally and contribute to our society, not what is happening at this time is it ?

-- Posted by Ombudsman on Thu, May 6, 2010, at 11:26 AM

Madman 36 - there is a possibility that all 5 of them are not lsited in the phone book but but what I did find is the probability of them living in Clay County is maybe, maybe 1 out of the 5. One of them might even live in Illinois, three of them might live in Vigo, and one of them is a toss up.

So Mr. Hayes, unless you are from Clay County, your constituents who are wonderful union reps as indicated by the photograph, are not. Therefore, I really don't see any of the Brazil merchants noticing an increase in their revenues unless you count lunch money!

Get over it.......unions are not all that.....just an interferance at this point. Unions can do good things but not in this instance! Your signs are generic at best so all you have to do is get a magic marker and pen in the name of the company you want to bash and be proud to carry that thing around. Very Cool! Not really......

-- Posted by Proud of My Country on Thu, May 6, 2010, at 11:34 AM

After doing some research of my own I found out that not one union roofing company submitted a bid for the roofing jobs at the 3 schools. So I don't understand why they are slowing the progress at the schools. It isn't the school or school boards fault that the people picketing are from the union, their company that they "work for" didn't even put in a bid. So in my opinion they need to go to their bosses and ask why they are not working.... I know from experience that in order to get a job you need to get off of your backside and not wait for someone to hand it to you. So, what did the picketing men that were standing so proudly with the generic sign in the picture want, some "non union" company to take the time to get the bid then fire the "normal staff" and hire them??? Get a clue it doesn't work like that.

-- Posted by kibbemi on Thu, May 6, 2010, at 12:05 PM

There is more than one subject being addressed in this story and comments.

I think unions will use any reason to bully people into using them. If this really is a free market then people have a right to not choose unions. Unions need to provide a good service, be competitive and win their contract fairly and not picket the jobs they don't get. Entitlement is never a good thing.

The second issue brought up is about illegal immigrants. This issue has been in the news and people are all up in arms about it being discriminatory. We could make this all easy for everyone. If an employer gets caught hiring illegals they should be the one sent to jail for breaking federal laws, they are the ones truly benefiting from the cheap labor. You can't blame the people of Mexico wanting a better life. It's all the government's fault for not enforcing its own laws that has caused this mess.

Make a way for Mexicans to work in this country and pay taxes legally if the work force requires it. If not close the door of illegal immigration by simply not giving them incentive to come. There is room for compassion and room for fairness. The immigrants who follow the rules are basically being cheated by those who do so illegally. We must secure our borders.

-- Posted by localgal on Thu, May 6, 2010, at 12:49 PM

Thank you for the information Proud of My Country...that is sort of what I suspected...so much for the union workers spurring Brazil's economy. I also wonder how lifehasitsmoments knew the workers at the school in Staunton were Mexicans as opposed to any variety of people from Latin America...and are we sure they are illegal. We all have decendant that were immigrants. Conservative Dad is dead right....Big Brother is coming.

-- Posted by madman36 on Thu, May 6, 2010, at 1:18 PM

It is hilarious if it is true that no union contractor bid on this job. These gentlemen lose all credibility if that is in fact the truth.

-- Posted by madman36 on Thu, May 6, 2010, at 1:20 PM

If they never put in a bid they should not be protesting.

People have been brain washed that capitalism is paying the cheapest wage instead of paying a living wage. Paying the cheapest wage leads to shipping our jobs to china and hiring undocumented workers here in America.

When I had my roof put on, last May, I had 4 bids. The cheapest one was from a crew that had only mexicans on it. The guy claimed they all had temp. work visas. I decided to have some American pride and hired a guy from Brazil and pay the extra $1500.00.

-- Posted by Kirk Smith on Thu, May 6, 2010, at 2:57 PM

And I'd just bet the Brazil Times did a little research on the subject before printing the pic and article. Isn't that right Kimberly?

-- Posted by I. M. Lee Thall, Esq. on Thu, May 6, 2010, at 7:28 PM

Funny, I never saw a single person at a school board meeting who spoke of hiring only union labor to work on the schools. I saw no protest when the contracts were awarded. Why now, when the work is underway?

I was opposed to portions of the project and still view those portions as wasteful of the taxpayer's money with little educational value, but with construction underway it is time to follow through, get the construction done, and get back to educating without the distraction of the noise of construction.

Lead, Follow, or get out of the way!

-- Posted by Leo L. Southworth on Thu, May 6, 2010, at 8:01 PM

How much is the extra gate and the certified mailing going to cost?

Kimberley, did you happen to ask these guys what county they actually live in?

-- Posted by Leo L. Southworth on Thu, May 6, 2010, at 8:04 PM

Unions are good for nothing! Don't get me wrong they had their place in time, but these days they are corrupt and greedy. I used to be pro union until I figured out the union leaders only cared about the organization and not nessicarly about the worker.

-- Posted by no1special on Thu, May 6, 2010, at 8:28 PM

I wonder how much the union is paying these guys to stand there instead of working somewhere?

...and how do we know that the workers aren't Americans??? Americans look like a lot of different nationalities.

-- Posted by Jenny Moore on Thu, May 6, 2010, at 10:01 PM


I understand your point.. But here is the catch.. How do we know any workers ARE legal? Is it ok that greedy business owners get to pay below minimum wage and stifle competitors who follow the law? That problem has to be resolved.

My family is on record, if we don't pay our taxes we get pursued by the IRS. If I want a license I got to provide my papers, if I get pulled over and I am asked for my license and I don't have one, I go to jail. Why do others in this land just get a pass for political correctness' sake? How do illegals get a license without forging documents?

We know we have an illegal immigration problem. How can we fix that problem if for the sake of political correctness we have to assume everyone is legal, even when it's pretty obvious?

We don't want to judge a woman by her appearance, but a John knows who a prostitute is. We don't want to judge a man sitting in a park, but a junkie knows who a drug dealer is. We don't want to judge a group of Hispanic men in a group outside a Home Depot, but contractors who want day workers for little pay know who to approach. Before you say how can I compare those 3 groups and how racist that sounds, I am simply saying people who want a service know who their targets look like, but somehow magically it's racist for the law to.

We have to end letting those who are in this country illegally be able to get licenses, buy homes and enter our welfare system if we are going to fiscally survive. I'm all for legal immigration, I wouldn't be here today without it. But my kin from the past and I in the present have to obey the laws and pay my taxes. We can not sustain this nation on the back of a few, if the majority get to do as they please and not contribute to the running of our Country.

If you want to see the how ridiculous political correctness has become, read this article:


-- Posted by localgal on Thu, May 6, 2010, at 11:30 PM

"Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration."

-- December 3, 1861

-- Posted by Kirk Smith on Fri, May 7, 2010, at 1:31 AM

Hopefully tulie32 opened some eyes...if not, at least made some people raise a few questions. Every elected office, from POTUS to county coroner, should have staggered term limits of six years - a lot would change...career politicians would be no more and people interested in getting something done instead of being re-elected might run for office.

no1special - IMO most unions officials, politicians, business owners, and the general public do what they do for one reason - to enrich themselves and their families and not to help others.

-- Posted by madman36 on Fri, May 7, 2010, at 6:37 AM


You hit the nail right on the head!! We are giving this country away a little at a time. Also I don't think it matters where the men in this picture live. What matters is that they are standing up for what they believe is right. This could happen in any town and if we don't do something to stop it then we won't have work anywhere. Jenny really? Please tell me that you are not that naive to think that out of a work crew of 20-30 men, ALL Hispanic that every single one of them is legal.

-- Posted by ugotitdude on Fri, May 7, 2010, at 8:21 AM

Term limits are what we should all be hoping for, get the ones out quicker that are about advancing their own interests instead of the peoples !!!!

-- Posted by Ombudsman on Fri, May 7, 2010, at 8:50 AM

"giving this country away a little at a time"

Fact: Some people in some countries have a better standard of living with minimum wages and other benefits

Fact: The USA is one of those countries that has those higher standards

Fact: There are many countries that also have hard working people who don't have those safeguards the people in the USA do

Fact: There are also people who take advantage of these services and don't pull their own weight for one reason or another-both home grown and foreign

I am not judging right or wrong but must ask when I see the very poor in other countries and I see a finite amount of resources in the world to support the total population...How can we make life better for those "working poor" in this country AND on foreign soil without also lowering our standards of living? If some sweat shop in India is paying children 50 cents an hour to sew together soccer balls, because the company would have to pay a union shop here $25 an hour is that a bad thing? Is that 50 cents enabling a child to eat or is it just taking a job from a US citizen who wants to have many things that they may not actually need? I look at all the possessions Americans think they now need compared to what we got along with when I was born 50 + years ago. No computer, one black and white tv, no cable, no satellite, one radio in the house, one car for a family of 6, one pair of sneakers, one pair of school shoes, and one pair of Sunday shoes.

Are we really demanding these high union wages now to support a life style of wants instead of needs?

Are so many others trying to emulate us to the extent that they think they need these things as well or are they still wanting the basics so badly that they skirt the law to try to live an American dream that may be running amuck to the point that people are getting in debt buying so many things that they want and don't really need??

I am not pleading innocent to this either. I have plenty of "stuff" in my house that I didn't have growing up, but I wonder sometimes how Christian I really am as a person cannot stop being a Christian at their country's boundaries. They cannot have the us and them attitude when it comes to being one of God's people.

Again I am not judging others' comments on this article but the union was established because this country's industrial giants were treating its laborers like some in other countries still do. At times now unions actually hurt laborer's chances as the companies cannot afford to bid on some of these projects due to their union contracts. Even the teacher's union here in Clay County has the budget so tied up in a very specific health care plan that it leaves few options for the corporation's goal of teaching children when everywhere else health insurance has had many changes in the past 5 years alone.

Just trying to sort all this out in my own mind and ask that others to reflect on it as well.

Have a good day.

-- Posted by Jenny Moore on Fri, May 7, 2010, at 9:20 AM

How do you "Buy American" when we make so little in this country anymore. I was at the VA hospital yesterday and the doctor was using a kitchen timer to time a procedure. He commented that it was made in China and that when it was given to him to use, he had checked the ones in retail stores for a week and never found one that was made in America.

Second, America priced itself out of the labor market on the world scene long ago. It started over a century ago and we are still living with the effects. When we were more isolated, due to transportation costs, and goods made elsewhere were of poorer quality, it raised our standard of living above the rest of the world's. Now, our production has moved overseas, we buy from overseas, and the greatest portion of our gross national product comes from service industries and selling those foreign-made goods. We can make almost everything we need, repeat "need"; however, we want much more than that and are still willing to pay a price for it no matter where it came from. Until we change that, we are in a downward spiral involving our production capability and utilization.

On the labor and immigration issue, if a person produces documentation that they are here legally, how is an employer to know if the documentation is not a forgery or was not issued due to forgeries of other documentation? We do not issue a "right to work" ID that a person must have a background check to get. It is harder for a woman who was born here and lived here all of her life to get an Indiana Driver's License than it is for an illegal immigrant to get an Indiana ID card with forged documentation. Should we have the BMV start back-checking all documentation with the originating authority to insure the documents are not forged?

-- Posted by Leo L. Southworth on Fri, May 7, 2010, at 9:51 AM

thought provoking comments on wnats vs. needs....thank you.

Where the picketers reside is an issue brought to point by Mr. Hayes in the article: "If it was a union job, then the money earned by the roofers would stay here," he said. "Union members who live in Clay County and pay taxes in Clay County are watching that money go to people that don't live in Clay County."

-- Posted by madman36 on Fri, May 7, 2010, at 11:01 AM

You can thank Billy Bob Clinton for NAFTA. You remember Billy Bob, the guy who stained Monica's dress?

-- Posted by I. M. Lee Thall, Esq. on Fri, May 7, 2010, at 1:56 PM

...and while we are at it, I assume that all who have commented on this article voted the other day?

If you didn't, your opinion means little as part of honoring the traditions and the process of our country comes the "obligation" to vote and make the system work. I voted...not all for whom I voted won but one at least did that was quite close. Wonder what would have happened if the other 75% of our county voted as well?

-- Posted by Jenny Moore on Fri, May 7, 2010, at 4:38 PM

Aw tulie, you hurt my feelings. So you approved of Billy Bob running around on his wife?? I'll bet you were an Edwards fan and I'd bet you were a killer Eddie Kennedy fan also, you know, the one that killed Mary Jo. You libs are all the same, blame everyone else.

-- Posted by I. M. Lee Thall, Esq. on Fri, May 7, 2010, at 9:26 PM

Wow so many of you have the wrong idea. Do not allow for illegal aliens to get any work in IN. You have no idea the mess you're about to begin. I am from Brazil, now I live out in Phoenix and we finally passed the most strict illegal immigration laws in the country. Its needed, one person said you cant blame a person for coming here to make a better life.... YES YOU CAN! They aint doing it the right way, get the heck out! We can no longer let people take advantage of us, they never put a dime into this country. Sounds like before you know if Clay Co might need a Sheriff Joe out there. Someone thats not afraid to tell these people to go back south of the border.

-- Posted by The Crabb in AZ on Fri, May 7, 2010, at 9:53 PM

First, no where in my comment did I say they were illegal aliens, although I guess I did I imply it. The problem is they do come here on temp visa's and then when it expires just dont return. There is a local business owner here in Brazil that provides them the means to get here at a very hefty price and once here they stay. Then they become illegals. So even is they are "legal" while getting here, they dont stay "legal". And although I am not a expert on languages or heritages, I do recognize that they were not speaking English, an issue left for another day. I also said that it is the contractors that need to be questioned as to their hiring practices. I for one respect Kirk Smith for going the extra mile and paying a little more to hire a local contractor. At least if there is a problem later you will be able to find him to correct it.

Second, it doesnt matter that these men are from Clay County because I have seen the construction company sign in front of Meridian and the contractor isnt even from Indiana; therefore they would have brought in all their labor with them. And I do understand that Clay County might not have any contractors large enough to handle a job this size, so it is somewhat understandable.

Lastly, as one local merchant was heard saying, I came to this country to make my living off lazy Americans. Well this is one American who is proud to say he wont make a dollar off of me. Even is he is now a "lazy" American himself.

-- Posted by lifehasitsmoments on Sat, May 8, 2010, at 10:24 AM

They weight down our system and get all the benefits of being an American without following our laws or contributing to our society. If it continues it will break our system and no one will benefit, we all lose, I know all the liberals who drive around with the" healthcare for all" bumper stickers think this is terrible, but its true and if you don't agree, stick around a few years, when its too late !

-- Posted by Ombudsman on Sat, May 8, 2010, at 5:28 PM


Read this before you assume you know what it's like for Arizonians and illegals.

-- Posted by Emmes on Mon, May 10, 2010, at 12:09 PM

Hay i have a great idea, go get something to do !!

-- Posted by Thorn44 on Tue, May 11, 2010, at 7:49 PM

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