Hauppauge-based Local Union 154 workers protested outside of Brookhaven Town Hall Nov. 19, disputing the Town of Brookhaven’s decision to hire another contractor to work on roofing of the government building.
The protesters who stood at the entrance to Independence Hill did not want to speak on the record, but said they were protesting because town officials hired nonunionized workers for the ongoing roof work being done at Town Hall. Brookhaven has ongoing projects to put solar panels on the Town Hall roof.
Local 154 did not respond to multiple requests for comment by press time.
The contractor, Ronkonkoma-based Statewide Roofing, has been performing commercial and industrial roofing on the Island since 1983, according to its website. Notable projects include replacing the roof and deck waterproofing at Stony Brook University South Stadium. The company is a member of the National Roofing Contractors Association and North East Roofing Contractors Association.
Gerry Curtin, president and part owner of the company, believes his workers are more than qualified to do the work and said the problem is with Local 154, who “wants everyone to go through them.”
Curtin said they have long resisted unionization.
“We’ve been around 36 years — we pay our workers prevailing wage and we’ve had apprenticeship program for over 25 years, we have done a lot of public work [over the years],” he said.
The president of the company said they do have labor union agreements and take on other laborers if needed.
A Brookhaven spokesperson said they make sure the union/contractor they hire offers a prevailing wage and has an appropriate apprenticeship program in place.
The spokesperson said work being done on the roof is part of the town’s solar energy program. The town put out a request for bids for the roof work and got a response from five different companies. They ultimately went with Statewide Roofing, which came in $1 million less than the next lowest bid.