IBEW pickets hospital site over wages

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About a dozen members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers 363 Tuesday picketed the site of the new Orange Regional Medical Center campus in the Town of Wallkill. The union is upset with the way electrical contractor Rondout Electric has hired its workers, said union Business Representative John Maraia, Jr.

“It was bid without using prevailing rate,” he said. “We feel that the project received a lot of money from the state, which should trigger it to be prevailing rate. So the project was not bid correctly.”

Union workers from other subcontractors on the site refused to cross the picket line as the electricians stood in front of the project.

The IBEW is also in State Supreme Court arguing the prevailing wage issue. Hospital spokesman Robert Lee said the construction contracts were awarded by HBE, the company hired by the hospital to manage and build the project. Some 60 percent of those contracts are union, he said.

“We are doing our best to keep jobs local, “said Lee. But, he noted the hospital is a not-for-profit and must watch its costs.


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