Pittsburgh Tribune Review


Union Protesting Contractor


Black Ash refuses agreement to hire local workers


By Jennifer Sabol-Grinberg



Officials of a laborers' union are accusing the contractor hired to remove asbestos for the Fox Chapel Area School District of failing to hire local workers for the project.


Members of the union have been picketing outside the high school for more than a week protesting Black Ash Services

Inc.'s refusal to sign an agreement to hire union workers.


John McManus, business manager for Laborers Local Union 373, said the company should, at a minimum, hire local workers.


Black Ash did not respond to repeated telephone messages seeking comment about its workers. The company was hired to remove asbestos from the high school and O'Hara and Hartwood elementary schools.


"We can't sign up everybody in the world, we know that," McManus said. "But at least they can use local workers."


McManus also questioned whether the workers being used are qualified to do the job.


But Paul Francioni, the school district's maintenance supervisor, said the non-union workers are state certified and are monitored daily by Volz Environmental Services.


By law, non-union workers must be paid a prevailing wage, which must match the union rate of $16.97, McManus said.


McManus, however, said he questions whether the company is paying the prevailing wage or deducting the proper amount of taxes.


"It is impossible to pay the wage and then put them up (in a motel)," McManus said.


Representatives from the district also did not return repeated telephone calls seeking comment about Black Ash's contract with the district or its hiring practices.



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