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Mock Election held at Quinnipiac
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From Quad News/by Emily Morgan
11/2/10

Protesters Back on Mount Carmel
Election Day may have been Nov. 2, but protesters from the carpenter and steel workers unions wanted to get the vote a day earlier with their own election.

"We wanted to play off Election Day and find out Lahey's approval rating on campus," said Jeff Wolcheski, a business representative and organizer with the New England Regional Council of Carpenters.

Members of the Quinnipiac and Hamden communities driving up Mount Carmel Ave were met with the familiar sight of the protesters handing out flyers, but this time participants were asked to stop and cast their vote. In response to the question, "Do you approve of the way President Lahey handles construction projects on your campus?" voters could choose to mark either "approve" or "disapprove".

Responses were mainly verbal though, as the cool temperature kept participants from getting out of their cars to fill out a ballot, according to Wolcheski.

"Many of the people we've spoken to have said they disapprove," Wolcheski said.

The protesters are still looking to sit down with the Quinnipiac administration to discuss responsible employer language in the contracts the school gives to contractors they hire for their projects.

In September, Joe Rubertone, associate vice president for facilities administration, called Bruce Lydem, vice president and director of organizing for the Carpenters Local 24 union, to ask about the protests. According to Wolcheski, the phone call came after the school's Board of Trustees met at the university and saw the protesters.

While Lydem and Rubertone corresponded back and forth, protesters scaled down their activities. But on Sept. 28, all communication ceased, according to a press release sent out by William Jordan, a business representative and organizer for the New England Regional Council of Carpenters. After this, protesters decided to ramp up their efforts again.

Protesters have been handing out leaflets along Mount Carmel Ave and at the North and South lot entrances to the university since June

"We're asking for a level playing field," Wolcheski said. "[The Quinnipiac community] deserves quality work on campus."

The Connecticut Department of Labor has already issued stop work orders against two contractors working on campus projects because of the illegal misclassification of employees as independent contractors, according to the press release sent out by Jordan.

"We have a solution to the misclassification," Wolcheski said. "We want to speak about responsible employers working on campus."

Wolcheski has said their protests are not about hiring union workers over nonunion workers.

"If Quinnipiac University was acting responsibly and hiring responsible contractors who abide by community standard wages, benefits, retirement packages and state and federal laws, we would not be out here right now," Jordan said in the press release.

Wolcheski compared Quinnipiac's hiring practices to Yale University.

"Yale doesn't allow third and fourth tiered subcontractors," Wolcheski said. "Quinnipiac wants to be in the same league [as Yale] but won't act with the same responsibility."

The university has no comment on the matter according to a statement by John Morgan, associate vice president for public relations.

In September, Joe Rubertone, associate vice president for facilities administration, called Bruce Lydem, vice president and director of organizing for the Carpenters Local 24 union, to ask about the protests. According to
Wolcheski, the phone call came after the school's Board of Trustees met at the university and saw the protesters.

While Lydem and Rubertone corresponded back and forth, protesters scaled down their activities. But on Sept. 28, all communication ceased, according to a press release sent out by William Jordan, a business representative and organizer for the New England Regional Council of Carpenters. After this, protesters decided to ramp up their efforts again.
Protesters have been handing out leaflets along Mount Carmel Ave and at the North and South lot entrances to the university since June

"We're asking for a level playing field," Wolcheski said. "[The Quinnipiac community] deserves quality work on campus."

The Connecticut Department of Labor has already issued stop work orders against two contractors working on campus projects because of the illegal misclassification of employees as independent contractors, according to the press release sent out by Jordan.

"We have a solution to the misclassification," Wolcheski said. "We want to speak about responsible employers working on campus."

Wolcheski has said their protests are not about hiring union workers over nonunion workers.

"If Quinnipiac University was acting responsibly and hiring responsible contractors who abide by community standard wages, benefits, retirement packages and state and federal laws, we would not be out here right now," Jordan said in the press release.

Wolcheski compared Quinnipiac's hiring practices to Yale University.

"Yale doesn't allow third and fourth tiered subcontractors," Wolcheski said. "Quinnipiac wants to be in the same league [as Yale] but won't act with the same responsibility."

The university has no comment on the matter according to a statement by John Morgan, associate vice president for public relations.

Read the article on the Quad News website here.

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