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News :: Labor
Over 200 Labor Union Construction Workers Protest in Quincy Center
30 Apr 2015
200 labor union members protest in Quincy.
Click on image for a larger version

Quincy, MA - Labor union supporters and members protested in Quincy Center on Wednesday, April 29, 2015, starting at 4:pm, demanding that building projects in Quincy be built by well paid union members. The building trades union rally was organized to begin at four o'clock. Over two hundred men and women were holding signs and chanting "Quincy Mutual unfair for Quincy residents," and "Mayor Koch is giving away local jobs."

The sidewalks and streets around Quincy City Hall were filled with angry workers who spilled onto the streets. One particular target of the workers was Quincy Mutual Fire Insurance - a company looking to cut costs in local building by bringing in out of area workers who are not union members and are paid lower wages. The company claims they need the extra funds to help with generous management pay. Traffic was stopped on Quincy Street, and Hancock Street as the crowd grew.

Mayor Koch claims he had an agreement with a group project called Street Works, but that he does not want to honor that agreement to hire local workers for basically similar projects with different financing. The latest proposed building project for Quincy Center includes at least $60 million for a building called 'West of Chestnut' that will be mixed use. A major backer of the scheme is Quincy Mutual Fire Insurance and a Boston company called Gate Residential that plans to construct two buildings of six stories with about 170 apartments. There will be ground-floor retail units.

The labor unions insist that the agreement to build union was with city and area workers who live, pay taxes, and vote in the area. There is a militant desire to shut down any non-union scab sites from the rank and file members who see a pattern were they will soon be out work.

At Wednesday's rally the Quincy and South Shore Union Building Trades president Robert Rizzi said that successive developers were supposed to honor the agreement to hire union labor for at least eigthty percent of the work on the construction sites.

Mayor Koch says the deal is over. Koch made vague promises about future developments being built by labor union members. “I would again put developers at the table with the unions with the hope that they could work out some deals and programs to help out working people in Quincy,”

The previous project was called "Merchants Row" and Quincy Mutual claims it invested $23 million and was negotiating with the unions under the project name 'Street Works.' But the situation changed, and Quincy Mutual changed the deal. A spokesperson for Quincy Mutual, Enest Corrigan, says that completing the project under the new arrangement means less work for the well paid labor union construction crews. The company wants to pay workers less.

As the evening closed president Rizzi emphasized that he and the labor union workers are ready to conduct a vigorous defense of their jobs, standard of living, and the standard of living of all workers in the area. The demonstration on Wednesday afternoon is just the beginning of the union fight.

This work is in the public domain