restaurant in Eureka is getting a new roof, however not all potential customers are happy. In fact, a few members of Sheet Metal Workers' Local 36 were lined up Thursday at the edge of Fifth Street that passes in front of the restaurant to picket the job, because it was reportedly being done by a non-union company.
Bob Barrett, director of marketing and government affairs for Local 36, said the union's members would prefer that wages for jobs, such as this one, stay in the fair rate zone and that projects be done by residents who pay taxes in those same cities, such as Eureka.
Barrett said a couple of Local 36 members who live in Eureka let him know the Lion's Choice roof project was not being done by one of the group's 150 contractors. Instead, he said the roof was being replaced by D&R Industries.
"Too many companies do quick jobs and leave town," said Barrett. "They don't live and work in the areas, like our union members. We give back to our communities, at least."
He said Local 36 has approximately 1,500 members, with about half of them in South St. Louis County.
Barrett said union members are better trained for jobs and do more reputable work, compared to non-union workers, who could be paid less than $10 to $12 per hour. Union members, who are better qualified, usually garner $50 per hour, and are faster and more cost-effective in the long run, he said.
"No place else will you find a stronger union town than St. Louis," said Barrett. "We are progressive here in the construction trade, and have many generations of strong bonds to unions."
He said in fact a $20 million training center recently was established at the Jefferson and Chouteau streets.
He said St. Louis has a better union percentage than New York or Chicago, and probably is second to only San Francisco.
"Training is the main reason why union members are a better choice for jobs. It's the investment in union workers that make the clear choice."
The manager-on-duty at the Lion's Choice declined to comment about the matter, citing it was a corporate restaurant, which is where the decision was made about who would get the roofing replacement contract.
Local 36 representatives likely will be back in front of Lion's Choice Friday.