Thursday, July 1, 2010

Laborers strike at D-200 schools

First thing this morning the normal hustle and bustle seemed to be taking place at the D-200 schools on North Seminary, across from the courthouse. I noticed the workers and construction equipment moving, as I drove to the courthouse to observe a hearing.

As I left the courthouse, the stillness on the west side of Seminary was striking. No equipment moving. No workers. Only two strikers at the corner of Seminary and Raffel Court. With their signs that indicate it's the Laborers' Chicago District Council & Affiliated Local Unions that are striking.

The strike is not against Woodstock District 200 schools, but it will definitely affect the summer work on buildings and driveways. According to the two strikers near Verda Dierzen and Northwood Middle Schools, their beef is with their employer who, they say, is "making thousands of dollars while they make hundreds."

Welcome, well to the world of capitalism, fellas.

But here we are, in the midst of perfect working weather for driveway and parking lot reconstruction. I'm sure the national Prevailing Wage law must apply to workers in Woodstock, so those guys benefit from laws that jack up their wages and raise expenses unnecessarily. But I guess they'd rather get strike pay, not hourly wages for working. Pretty dumb, I'd say.

When D-200 made its deal with the lowest bidder (lowest responsible bidder?), didn't it get some assurance that workers would do the work? Did D-200 anticipate a strike so soon in the construction project? Did the workers carefully time the strike and wait until after the driveways were scraped?

And what happens to summer school - taught by teachers who are in their own union? Will those teachers cross the picket lines and teach their classes? D-200 advises that the strike should only affect construction and not impact the D-200 summer school program.

When I called D-200 today, I learned that offices are closed today, and I jumped to a conclusion that the closing meant an extended Fourth of July holiday.

Glad to say I am wrong about that. Today's school holiday, July 1, is a make-up for the day back in March when employees worked on the Casimir Pulaski holiday. (I know, I know. WHO??? (See or Google for more information on Gen. Pulaski.))

District offices will be closed on Monday, July 5, since July 4 falls on a Sunday this year.

Summer hours for D-200 are four ten-hour workdays, closed on Fridays.

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