The protest continues, escalates

If you haven’t read “The labor dispute” please do so, here, as it gives context to this post.

The protest is the same but the action has changed. I’ve noticed that these protesters are going between holding up their big sign (no more than three at a time) to actually standing in the entrance and exit areas of the business park where Cataldo’s new office is located. They are on each side of the Caribou/Uncle Frankys part of the pavilion and they are armed with fliers.

Click here to read their updated information.

The flier confirms what Cataldo’s office commented, that Karkela Construction used a drywall contractor. They also go on to mention that the workers were paid less then the area standard wages and benefits.

It also continues to ask the reader if they’ve received any cost benefit for their “hoarded savings” onto their cost of dental care.

Paid Protesting?

It sounds like the tactics aren’t going to stop anytime soon. I had heard from an unconfirmed source that one of the protesters admitted to being paid for their work. Word on the street is it pays $10/hour. Not bad…Perhaps I’m in the wrong business…Granted I get paid quite a bit more, but I’m required to think. Holding fliers and not talking is easy…The source also claims they are not workers in the union being represented.

This all gets me thinking. I should buy me some protesters and see what I could blackmail people into doing. Perhaps if I hire enough to picket a Caribou, they’ll give me free coffees for life, mmm.

Technically what they are doing falls under a First Amendment right. What I’m not clear on is their ability to be on the property of that business park. I suppose it would require the actual owners of the physical property there to call the police. I should remind my readers if they become obscene, pushy or violent at any point you should call the police as these aren’t legal tactics and are not protected by the First Amendment. Protests should be a peaceful affair as positive action speaks more legitimately than negative, granted not always as loudly.

At one point, the protesters had actually entered Cataldo’s office. I believe this to have happened in February when the protest first began (allegedly very near or after the completion of the build-out). They were essentially picketing inside the building trying to get Brent Cataldo to sign a document saying he would agree to use union labor in the future. This type of tactic becomes illegal after the business owner or representative asks the party to leave, which I’m assuming they did forthrightly.

Prevailing Wage

Recently there has been quite a stir in Minnesota over the idea of prevailing wages. Kare11 has done two stories (Part I and Part II) on this particular topic. We, as taxpayers, should be concerned about this because we are affected in two major ways; 1. The cost of infrastructure and MN workers, 2. The impact of high prevailing wages to what the state can do because of budgetary constrictions.

Now, no one likes to lose a good deal but the basic gist of this is that prevailing wages have gone out of control. We end up paying state contracted/direct workers really high wages (in many cases) simply because it’s an inflated number that has been high over the years. With the Governor announcing huge cuts in education it makes me nervous. The worse education gets because of budget tightness the lesser quality of workforce we create. If we have a big inflated prevailing wage issue, why not deflate it to make room for what is more important?

Furthermore, I think that if all areas of the state are heavily scrutinized, why isn’t this issue? I know that it’s sensitive because there are unions and other organizations involved, but I think even those organizations need to recognize the economy and the labor-driven workforce is evolving. With the demise of unions over the years, it’s only going to get worse, so I’d say we all need to work together to take a second look at this or we’ll end up cutting things farther than we need, upsetting many families and driving businesses out.

So let me know what you think…I’m sure it could be a hot topic. I’m back to rock music and scripting.


4 responses to “The protest continues, escalates”

  1. the owners of the building do know whats going on, but the law states as it does and its weird but they can stand in the street. the last person to blame here is dr cataldo as he during this great economy (lol)builds his dental business as anyone should whom has earned and paid for a degree, and as a smart businessman used the best quote from a general contractor whom then proceeded to use non union contractors. these nonunion drywall guys are smart enough to atleast get the work as they do have families to feed as well. it is the preroggative of the union and its memebers to use union shops and not to frequent non union shops. well in this day and age they would not receive any services due to the lack in following. i am sorry for these union members who have to pay their dues to keep the “old backbone of america” strong, it is almost like religion. the union will find me a job, lol what about finding your own job. let dr cataldo be. i believe this is defamation of charachter as i thought he performed some type of bad procedure, and then i find out he was just a normal person. how many of you go with the most expensive bid? and besides this all as a business owner/ and property owner/ and manager, do know that some development sites or malls do make you sign a lease which makes the lessor responsible to use union shops. obviously this as well is a thing of the 50s.

  2. Jay, I think you make some good points. If it was my house and I was looking at contractors that could all do the same job I would go with the cheapest one. In this economy we just cannot afford to pay more for some novel purpose. Even the most altruistic person would go for the cheaper bid, I bet.

    Thanks for your comment,

  3. Hey – just an update – the protesters were outside of Cataldo’sneghborhood this morning…Nottingham !

  4. The union is now protesting here in Shakopee and I’m writing a story about it for our local paper. I saw that some former Friedges employees had commented on this blog. If they read this and would like to comment for the story, call me at (952) 345-6679 or e-mail Thanks!

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