Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.
The Gazette picked up a flyer from the Metropolitan Regional Council of Carpenters asking people to contact the college and “tell them how W.S. Cumby hurts our community by awarding work to companies like Forcine Concrete and Construction Co. and Klover Contracting Inc. that pay substantially lower wages and benefits.” The carpenters chose not to discuss the issue further.
In response, the college has issued the following statement:
“Swarthmore College has a long history of using union labor for its major construction projects. Recent examples include Alice Paul Residence Hall, David Kemp Residence Hall, the Science Center and the extensive renovation of Parrish Hall.
“The College also has a history of providing a fair and equal opportunity for both union and merit shop contractors to compete for smaller projects on campus — such as the greenhouse project, which is presently underway. We do this because we believe it to be consistent with our obligation to be good stewards of college resources. In all cases we choose contractors who we believe will treat workers with dignity providing wages, benefits and working conditions that are fair. We do believe that the wages and conditions for the greenhouse project are fair and competitive.
“We are supportive of the Carpenters Union if they would like to expand their membership to include these non-union contractors, provided they adhere to the National Labor Relations Act in approaching anyone about potential union representation.”
The Gazette will report further on this situation as it develops.