One carpenters union local is making a stir on Pleasant Valley Way because it believes a local hospital has hired carpenters who are not being paid a fair wage and benefits.
A large sign stating, “Shame on Kessler Institute,” has been held in front of the Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation, at 1199 Pleasant Valley Way, for the past week. The sign was put there by the Carpenters Local 253, who is part of the Northeast Regional Council for Carpenters.
Bob Satriano, president of the Local 253 located in Hackensack, said the sign was put there because the Kessler Foundation, a nonprofit charity dedicated to medical rehabilitation research, hired Dimensional Dynamics who he believes is not paying its carpenters a wage that meets “area standards.”
“I wanted to make sure the public was aware that the Carpenters [Local 253] is not appreciative of contractors going in there and undermining the area standards and not paying workers what they deserve,” said Satriano.
Dimensional Dynamics, a construction company, was hired by the Kessler Foundation to renovate a 4,500 square-foot portion of the Kessler Institute. Construction began in June and is expected to be completed in January 2013.
For the project, Dimensional Dynamics oversees hired subcontractors.
Sam Paglianite, president of Dimensional Dynamics, said the accusations of Local 253 are not accurate. Paglianite stated his employees do receive a fair wage and benefits, and that these are the realities of working in a competitive marketplace.
“I do not think that just having a union label on an employment package makes you the only game in town,” said Paglianite.
He added that he has seen these picket lines in recent years as businesses choose to find more economic routes in this tough economy. Paglianite said he has also hired both union and nonunion workers in the past.
Rodger DeRose, the president and CEO of the Kessler Foundation, said the foundation and institute has sought to employ both union and nonunion workers in the past, and the Local 253 has placed itself on “the wrong side of this issue.”
“We are trying to do this project as effectively as we can, to meet the long-term needs of medical rehabilitation research,” said DeRose. “... If the union really wants to take their story to the public, I am certain the public is going to quickly come to the conclusion that the union is taking an unfair stance with a charity.”
While the sign is directed toward the Kessler Institute, the project is however being funded by the Kessler Foundation.
“[The Kessler Foundation] funds [the project], and we have the option of closing it down because we can’t afford to put hundreds of thousands of dollars of additional cost in just to meet the demands that the union has right now,” said DeRose.
Satriano said there has been a “favorable response from the public and the working people around in the area.” He expects the sign to remain there in the coming weeks.