Medline builder promises to use union labor on new contracts

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An Oct. 19 protest by Minneapolis Building Trades members questioning the use of out-of-state, non-union labor for the Medline project in Rogers has produced a result. A representative of the California-based contractor, Panattoni Construction, Inc., spoke on the phone Nov. 7 with Dan McConnell, business manager of the Minneapolis Building and Construction Trades Council.

Robert Murray, the Panattoni representative, said he was working to direct any new contracts at the $15 million Medline distribution center in Rogers to local union contractors, McConnell reported.

“I’m doing everything I can right now,” Murray told McConnell. “I’m still working real hard to try to get the rest of these trades to go all-union,” Murray said, according to McConnell’s audio recording of the conversation, provided to the Labor Review.

“The cabinets went all union and they’ll be union installed,” Murray said.

“I’m working on the tile and the flooring right now,” Murray also said.

McConnell asked Murray to let him know if more bids from union contractors were needed.

Murray said he had a good list of union bidders and “they’re a little bit higher but I’m going to figure it out between myself and Medline.”

“We’ll figure out how we’re going to make it happen,” Murray told McConnell. “We’ll keep you in the loop.”

Panattoni is building the Rogers distribution facility for Medline, a health-care products maker and distributor. The facility will allow Medline to fulfill a recent prime vendor agreement it signed with Hennepin County Medical Center.

Panattoni has built facilities for Medline in other parts of the country.

In June 2010, Medline and Panattoni’s use of out-of-state, non-union labor also drew a protest in Canton, Ohio supported by the East Central Ohio Building and Construction Trades Council and Ohio AFL-CIO, according to CantonRep.com.