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Outlet Center Sparks Protest

Carpenters Local 713 hold informational protest over employee wages and benefits.

= Grim Reaper. Wait. What?

At the intersection of El Charro and Freisman roads stands the soul taker. He greets you when entering the Paragon Outlets construction site.

But no worries. The reaper is not here to take you away. Construction workers on the project are using the prop as part of an informational protest against Paragon Outlets and their general contractor S.D. Deacon Corp.

The Carpenters Local 713, which represents workers on the project, says the contractor fails to pay "area standard" wages and benefits.

"What's particularly ironic is that Paragon is building a shopping center with great stores, but nobody is making any money," says Paul Cohen, spokesman for Carpenters Local 713. "If you undercut people's wages then nobody is going to shop at these stores."

Paul Cunha, vice president of S.D. Deacon Corp., says "the union just wants to raise a big stink."

"It's kind of a waste of time on their part," he says in a phone interview.

Cunha says subcontractors were awarded the project based on the lowest qualified number in a competitive, open bid.

As for the Grim Reaper?

"They're just trying to get people's attention," Cunha says.

Yeah. It worked.

For more information on the Paragon Outlet project view our previous articles:

Deborah May August 31, 2011 at 05:51 PM
So, the people who are being paid to build it are protesting that they have work? In this recession construction has been hard hit-- why the complaints? "Standard wages" may have changed based on supply and demand. I do believe in livable wages, but people need to be realistic about what their skills are worth especially in a recession. This is a great project for Livermore and I hope it is successful.
Chris September 01, 2011 at 02:48 PM
Maybe these protesters should apply for a job at Solyndra in Fremont, which just laid off 1,100 workers. These protesters accomplish three things: 1) they piss off people trying to get to work or doctor appts or schools by hanging a banner over 580 and delaying traffic. 2) They continue to push unions toward unreasonable demands which is leading to contuned layoffs and jobs being sent overseas, 3) they are earning $0.00 while protesting. GET BACK TO WORK.
Rich Buckley September 01, 2011 at 03:08 PM
The symbolism of the Grim Reaper (a highly regarded cultural icon of religious significance http://tiny.cc/q87he ) suggests to more than one viewer the bidding process is tainted with imported labor without regard to legality of immigration status, a controversy that clearly overruns just "Prevailing Wage" issues and misdirects our emotions.  This is a very serious symbolic implication too obvious to ignore. Our families and loved ones who are members of our Carpenters Local, may want to project a more understanding image after all, which is less inflammatory and symbolically represents the Local's nondiscriminatory brotherhood of purpose.   
a local citizen September 01, 2011 at 03:36 PM
I have a four degree and I don't have the first clue how to use a hammer and nails to frame a building, or erect rebar or run heavy equipment.
Jaime Roberto September 01, 2011 at 04:19 PM
The protesters could always go work somewhere else.
Chris September 01, 2011 at 05:27 PM
Unemployment in the construction industry in Northern California is approximately 15% (one of the highest in the nation). There are alot of qualified people that would love to do this project for those wages.

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