Tonawanda News

The Town

September 19, 2012

ANOTHER ADDITION

(Continued)

Tonawanda News —

Construction on the facility began in the spring, with a groundbreaking ceremony taking place in March. The shell for the department is now complete and work on the interior is beginning. 

Ideally, both the emergency department and the orthopedics unit will be finished next summer. 

“We did accommodate for some added growth,” Millard said. “We are planning for the future. We are excited.”

The project isn’t entirely without controversy, though. Catholic Health, the umbrella group operating all Buffalo Catholic hospitals, is catching flack from the Northeast Regional Council of Carpenters for employing non-union carpenters.

The union has undertaken a campaign to force large employers to use union work and pay greater wages, and according to Daryl Bodewes, council representative, they are targeting certain non-union contractors.

Bodewes said Catholic Health employs contractors that fall into that category. The carpenters union is taking issue with Mandon Building Systems currently doing work at Kenmore Mercy. 

“We told Catholic Health that when the job started, we possibly would be doing picketing there, too,” Bodewes said. “We didn’t hear from them. They are utilizing contractors that don’t pay area (wages) and benefits.”

Despite some back and forth discussion with Catholic Health since then, no concrete progress has been made, according to Bodewes.

The council continues to picket at Kenmore Mercy, Sisters of Charity Hospital St. Joseph campus, and at the Catholic Diocese every week. 

“It’s just generally what union wages are — good retirement, health care benefits,” Bodewes said. 

A statement from Catholic Health asserts that they do not have any dispute with the carpenters union. 

“We recognize the importance of offering skilled workers competitive wages and benefits, and expect that of our contractors,” it states. “In the past, projects have been awarded to union and non-union contractors alike.”

Contact reporter Jessica Bagley at 693-1000, ext. 4150.

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