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Haskell and Pepsi say they are hiring local workers and are pledged to hiring local workers

The Haskell Company, general contractor on Project Wave, and PepsiCo both pledged today to hire, whenever possible, local subcontractors, and say they've been following that practice from the beginning.

In fact, both companies say they have a non-binding agreement with the Genesee County Economic Development Center to hire local workers.

Union representatives from Rochester held a press conference today outside the building site at the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park and insisted that Haskell is not awarding enough contracts to builders from Western New York.

Dave Young, president of the Rochester Building and Construction Trades Council, as well as business manager of IBEW Local 86, told reporters to just walk through the parking lot (if allowed) and check license plates on the trucks pulled up behind the construction trailers.

"Pepsi has hired an out-of-state general contractor who is bringing up employees from Texas, Florida, North Carolina and Virginia," Young said. "They're bringing them from everywhere but right in here New York State."

Young made his remarks flanked by union members -- Young said he represents 15,000 workers, 15 percent of whom are out of work -- and in front of a backdrop of earth movers grading the construction site.

The earth movers are owned and operated by Zoladz Construction, based in Alden.

Young (pictured) said the one solid piece of evidence his group has is a video he and some colleagues produced yesterday during their walk-through of the construction site parking lot.

When pressed to name out-of-state contractors who have been awarded contracts, Young named one, an electrical contractor out of Kentucky, but said he couldn't remember the names of the others.

He said the bid process for construction work such as this lacks transparency, which makes it hard to know for sure who is being hired for what jobs.

Yesterday, Steve Hyde told The Batavian that 50 percent of the contracts for the project have been awarded and 80 percent of those have gone to Western New York contractors.

Dave Balz, a VP with Haskell, said he didn't have the information in front of him to be able to confirm Hyde's numbers, but said Haskell is firmly committed to hiring local labor on all of its projects.

"In my experience, every community is concerned about the local work force and the local workers," Balz said. "We respect that concern. Local contractors with a good safety record are always welcome to bid on our projects."

Haskell signed a non-binding agreement with GCEDC to hire qualified subcontractors from the local area (which covers Genesee County as well as the surrounding counties), Balz said.

According to Scott Gilmore, a spokesman for Pepsi, the company signed a "local labor pledge" with GCEDC.

"Our pledge is to use a fair and competitive selection process for the construction of the new manufacturing facility, with a view to using as many New York State and local subcontractors and suppliers as reasonable," Gilmore said in a statement.

"As with any pledge of this nature, it is not legally binding, but it is a reflection of the goals and standards we seek to maintain as we proceed with development of the state-of-the-art dairy and yogurt production facility in Batavia, New York."

Gilmore also wrote, "We are committed to providing a measurable, positive impact to the Upstate local community and surrounding areas through the use of available, competitive local labor as we construct a state-of-the-art dairy and yogurt production facility in Batavia, New York."

Among Young's request is that GCEDC create a local labor requirement in its contacts with businesses, saying that the Monroe County IDA has such a requirement in its contracts.

The Batavian spoke briefly with a spokeswoman for COMIDA who said at first the claim was true, but when asked if such agreements were binding, she said she would need to double check. We've not yet heard back from her.

As for the video presented by the union, Balz said he would let it speak for itself, adding, "We are still early in a very long-term project to build a state-of-the-art yogurt plant. As things proceed on site, we intend and will take action on our pledge to do our very best to include local participation."

Previously: Union officials making waves over alleged out-of-state hiring practices of Wave Holding

Mike Kelly
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Looks like there is going to be a sugar and tire shortage.

jeff saquella
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isnt it amazing what problems unions can cause

Mark Brudz
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"The earth movers are owned and operated by Zoladz Construction, based in Alden."

HMMM, last I knew Alden was kind of sort of local, at least everytime that I pass their company office anyway.

The permament jobs in this plant will definately be local. If a local electrical contractor had a competative bid, then my bet would be that they would have gotten the job. It isn't a private company's job to placate the union, it's job is to have the most cost effective job done.

Mark Brudz
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"Looks like there is going to be a sugar and tire shortage."

By that are you implying that someone local would commit a crime by pouring sugar in a local contractors equipments fuel tank or slash tires?

I certainly hope not Zoldaz is a local Alden based company!

Or is implying slashed tires and sugared gas tanks on the out of state workers personal vehicles, Those workers are not committing a crime, but anyone who slash tires or pour sugar in a gas tank would be, and those out of state workers are staying in our local hotels, eating in our local restaurants, and most likely at this point of the process are management personel in the first place.

I sincerely hope that I misunderstood your comment Mr Kelly

Mike Kelly
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@Mark; No, you did not misunderstand my post.

Didn't you notice the smiling faces in the photo above?

Frank Bartholomew
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Jeff, if it weren't for unions, many of the rights workers have today wouldn't exist.
Just look at some of the conditions overseas, sweat shops, unsafe conditions, long hours, no overtime pay, you are literally owned by the employer. I don't believe the unions created corporate greed.

Mark Brudz
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Frank, what you say is absolutely true, that said, the Unions of today are not the unions of the 1930's and 1950's.

There comes in all things a point of diminishing returns and the major unions have long since past that point.

Unions do good things in that training members, coop benefits for retirement and catastrophic health care and such, I do not deny that. And most union members are hard working folk that do thier jobs, pay thier dues and contribute to knowledge to other union members.

That said, in the intial stages of this plant construction, a local company is doing the excavation, there maybe a company from Kentucy that has the electrical contract, but the probabilty is that electricians are going to come from local union halls. What these union leaders are doing now in my view, is trying to dictate which companies get the contracts, and that is wrong.

John Roach
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Frank,
You could say the opposite in Europe, where you can make the case that unions have helped destroy the economies there.

But this is not about that, is it? It is a Monroe County union leader complaining that local workers are not being hired. The question then becomes has any local company, in Genesee County, bid a job and not get it?

And if you hire only local, do you exclude anyone from Monroe County until you can verify everyone in Genesee County who wants to work, and is qualified, has been hired?

And while he denied this is union/non union, would he still be here if all workers were local, but none were union? I bet the answer is yes.

Frank Bartholomew
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All I was trying to point out is that unions built the framework for todays workers to enjoy safe workplaces, and fair compensation for their efforts.
As I stated in another post, the bids should go to the most efficient, cost effective contractor with a proven track record.
Mark, I realize where unions are at in todays market, dwindling membership, higher dues, with little or no bargaining power. Everyone knows the state of the unions, but at least show them some gratitude for the accomplishments and sacrifices organized labor made in the workplace.
The govt is the union in todays workplace, as they mandate the lowest possible wage scale, OSHA, forces compliance to all safety concerns,real or imagined. And then you have the countless labor boards at both state and federal levels, no wonder companies move overseas, it would be easier to negiotiate with a union.

Mark Brudz
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Ah Frank I did, I said that you correct in that, my only point was that was then this is now,

Unions in the early days did a lot of good things, I stated that as well

JT Hunt
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if they got their proper legal documentation, do the mexican farm immigrants count as locals? they do now suckers lol viva la yogurt!

Frank Bartholomew
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Mark, I'm not contesting any part of your post, it was more of a shot back at the anti union crowd.
I am truly grateful for a lot of the changes the unions helped make into law,standard wages, the 40 hr.work wk.,
and the many lives that weren't lost, due to safer working conditions.
My own exp. with organized labor includes both good and bad relations between labor and management.
On the good side, I saw labor and manangement work together, keep our contracts black and white, each side respected the other, and the results spoke for themselves.
On the flip side, I have seen how ugly it gets when collective bargaining breaks down,the threats, the rhetoric,
trash talk from both sides, and at the end of the day, a contract that neither side wanted becomes binding.
In this day, unions are a pain in the ass, but they don't hold a candle to the govt.

Daniel Jones
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During the height of our prosperity, organized labor provided the backbone of the middle class, union workers and non, to have systems of protection and a government that worked for them. This sort of ridiculous union bashing is one of the many things I do not miss about Genesee County. It's a shame that it's a sad fact, but it's true, this community being so anti-labor is a major cause of our decline. Real progress is being made in Buffalo and organized labor is very much a part of that.

Daniel Jones
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I meant to say few things, not many things. I miss many things about Genesee County.

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