Sitting behind a sign that read “Shame on BYU, Labor Dispute” were three Utah natives who refused to give their names. They handed out flyers that compared BYU to a rat for contracting out construction work to a company they claim doesn’t meet area labor standards.
“I am here donating my time to let people know that BYU is not using unionized carpenters,” one of union workers holding the sign said.
To most BYU students, picketing comes with the territory. “These people must realize the (LDS) Church deals with picketers all the time,” said Chad Arnett, a passing BYU student. ”What business can they affect here?”
This scene is similar to one that replayed outside of Larry H. Miller Automotive in Provo when Carpenters Local 1507 picketed the dealership for using a non-unionized construction company as it refurbished its building
Larry H. Miller Automotive in Provo declined comment, stating it has a lot of customers who are union workers and that it is their right to picket if they want to — a safe answer to not affect business any more than was already done by the picketing union workers.
In the bright pink flyer holding the same moniker as their sign “Shame on BYU” it reads, “Carpenters Local 1507 believes that BYU has an obligation to the community to see that area labor standards are met for construction work.”
The flyer then refers one to a website which states Pete King Construction Company (PKCC) undercuts unionized competition by paying illegal aliens for sometimes less than $4 an hour to do work. The site also states that King Construction hasn’t fully paid payroll taxes, employee benefits, has had more than 150 OSHA violations and has been fined more than $80,000 by the federal government.
The company disputes the union claims. “PKCC has never paid less than minimum wage to any employee,” according to the Pete King Construction website petekingaz.com.
“Their whole M.O. is they find contractors and hurt their reputations,“ said Richard Luby, vice president and director of operations at Pete King Arizona Construction. “The unions are about power and money and understand that it typically costs more to take them to court for slander than one would receive for winning the case.”
Union workers typically protest for the duration of the construction.