Rideout Health picketers protest construction wages
Two people carrying signs and distributing fliers near the hospital's Cancer Center in Marysville are representatives of a Sacramento carpenter's union that has organized similar demonstrations in Northern California during the past decade, Rideout Health says.
Scott Littlehale, a spokesman for Carpenters Local Union 46, called the demonstration a free speech action and not picketing. A flier notes no one is asked to stop working, stop deliveries or cease doing business with any employer.
The flier the two demonstrators provide reads in part that, "The Rideout Health Group is constructing a new tower in Marysville and is not requiring contractors or subcontractors to pay area standard wages and benefits on all of the projects all of the time."
That is "killing our local economy" and hurting workers, families and community, the flyer adds. Littlehale said Rideout is trying to make the matter a union versus nonunion issue when it's about wages and benefits.
He said, however, that figures on union and nonunion pay for carpenters in the Yuba-Sutter area were not available on Thursday.
Theresa Hamilton, chief executive officer for Rideout, said "we were surprised that Local 46 has chosen to come to our community."
"Rideout has no legal say in the hiring policies of its contractors, so we should not be their focus. Furthermore, while we support everyone's First Amendment rights, we find it especially regrettable that this action took place in front of our Cancer Center, which we have endeavored to make a calming haven for our patients who are already under tremendous personal stress."
Rideout said it selected contractors for its expansion because of their bids and ability to meet quality standards. Rideout in its written statement said it's not involved in the hiring of subcontractors or individual workers. Rideout is not in a position to dictate or influence contractors' hiring practices, the statement reads. It is, in fact, contrary to federal labor laws to do so.
Twenty-two regional companies are involved in construction projects, said Rideout, the nonprofit health care organization that operates Rideout Memorial Hospital, Fremont Medical Center and other medical facilities around the Yuba-Sutter region.
Rideout employs about 1,800 union and nonunion staff.
CONTACT Ryan McCarthy at firstname.lastname@example.org or 749-4780. Find him on Facebook at /ADrmccarthy or on Twitter at @ADrmccarthy.