Unionists and painters picket in response to low wages, demand a Project Labor Agreement

Video by Ethan Fey

Ella Persky and Ethan Fey

Painters contracted to work on the newly constructed buildings picketed in front of the school’s main entrance Friday morning in a labor action — a stoppage or shutdown of work — against D&D Painting, the company contracted to paint the Student Services Building.

The painters, who are members of District Council 16 of the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades, were joined by union organizers, and work with the California Department of Industrial Relations — an organization which protects California workers and working conditions to set workers’ wages and benefits.

Sam Krahnke, a picketer and organizer, said that D&D Painting has been “caught numerous times” not paying the minimum wage set by the DIR, and that they’ve been paying under the industry standard for years.

“[MVHS] should get a responsible contractor to work on this,” Krahnke said. “This is public money. … I would hope you would want the best qualified contractors working on your schools.”

The picketers said that in order to “avoid this in the future,” they want to negotiate a Project Labor Agreement — a contract between project owners and unions — with D&D painting. 

A PLA would guarantee medical insurance for workers and their families, pension, and a retirement plan, such as a 401k, according to picketer and organizer Jason Anthony. 

“[A PLA] is very important and holds the standard and community responsible,” Krahnke said.