Protest ends, work resumes at new Columbia high school

Tuesday, October 12, 2010 | 1:52 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — Union protesters have put away their signs and employees have returned to work on the new high school in northeast Columbia.

Workers from the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 513 gathered Friday in an attempt to persuade Sunbelt, a non-union company, to come to a union agreement, a previous Missourian article stated. Sunbelt was subcontracted to do the drilling for the ground-source heating.

The picket line caused an immediate delay. Nick Boren, deputy superintendent, said the project had come to a “screeching halt.”

“We had been making incredible progress,” Boren said.

About 25 workers participated in Friday’s protest. JE Dunn, the construction management company, sent a letter to workers, urging them to return.

Boren said they did not report for work on Monday, but that two gates of entry had been established at the site — one for workers, and one for those who were picketing.

The number of people working on Friday and Monday was “10 at most,” said Charles Oestreich, director of facilities and construction services.

Oestreich said the overall project should not be affected.

“Any day not worked is time lost,” Oestreich said, but the project will take so long that they will have time to catch up.

As of Tuesday morning, Oestreich said, “Everybody’s back to work.”

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Ray Shapiro October 12, 2010 | 2:34 p.m.

Perhaps public opinion swayed the union folk to see the light of day.
Perhaps they realized greed would not prevail.
Regardless, it's good to see construction resume.
Even if I don't agree with its location or building design.

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