Union Reps Rebut Developer’s Comments, Support Councilor Wilmott

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OSWEGO – It was standing-room-only in the Council Chambers Monday night as dozens of union members turned out to rebut comments made by local developer Anthony Pauldine.

Jim Mason speaks at Monday’s council meeting.

The Oswego businessman spoke at a recent public session to express umbrage over being picketed late last year at the grand opening of the renovated Cahill Building.

Jim Mason, president of Carpenters’ Local #277, said that Pauldine paid some workers $450 a week and said, “That’s not bad.”

“Pauldine thinks that paying workers $450 a week is not bad. Let’s see him buy groceries with that,” Mason said. “It’s just barely above minimum wage.”

Mason pointed out that Pauldine gave an envelope with a check (made out to cash) for $250 to be presented to Councilor Rob Wilmott, a union official.

“Pauldine told him to use it so he didn’t have to picket somewhere in Oswego,” Mason said, adding that that constitutes Pauldine trying to bribe not only a union representative from the Carpenters’ Union but a city official.

Wilmott ripped it up.

“I want to thank Bob Wilmott for everything that he does for local labor. You are appreciated,” Mason said.

A second union official, Dave Haines, business agent of #277, echoed Mason’s remarks.

“Mr. Pauldine has upset every union worker, not just the trades workers, but firemen, policemen, Civil Service – every trade, every union there is with his comments,” Haines said. “I want to thank the members here that came out to support Bob Wilmott and the city council. I know you folks won’t stand for this type of thing. And, Bob, thank you for everything you do.”

George Baldwin, a union member, said he was offended by Pauldine’s comments.

“I do appreciate him renovating the old buildings, especially the old YMCA where I used to play basketball,” he said. “But, if he’s going to renovate buildings he should play by the same rules all of our contractors play by. He has to pay a living wage and he has to follow all the safety rules and regulations. I am concerned about the health a safety of workers on site. I just want to make sure he does every thing right.”

Gary Toth, a former president of Carpenters’ #747, said they picketed a lot in Oswego

“It wasn’t anything personal. The bottom line is, carpenters were not getting a fair wage, they were getting under paid and we wanted to make sure they got a living wage, benefits and health care” he told the council. “That’s our legacy. That’s what we stand for.”

There was concern that because of his union affiliation, Councilor Wilmott had a conflict of interest.

“There is no conflict of interest,” Toth said. “Bob is doing his duty. Bob is looking out for the welfare of the working people of the city of Oswego. His goal is to raise their standard of living … so they can live here, raise their family here, pay their taxes here … and improve the whole economic climate of Oswego.”

15 Comments

  1. I always thought that if a contractor accepted state money he had to pay prevailing wages. Didn’t Mr.Pauldine accept state money for both the Cahill site,YMCA,and his building on west first and bridge st? If he did then isn’t he required by law to pay prevailing wages and aren’t union wages considered prevailing wages? Isn’t that what shut down the Sheldon hotel project as they didn’t want to pay prevailing wages? It seems to me that the city zoning isn’t looking into any of this. Was also wondering what happened to the bank falling into the parking lot behind the YMCA. Haven’t heard anything more about that? Any fines issued on that or what. OSHA????

  2. More sour grapes from the unemployed union workers that missed out on the prevailing wage from a public job.

  3. I was a Union member for over twenty years…I WOULD NEVER do it again..all they ever did was take our money ..then when the co.closed they took our money and gave it to the international Union..for what it was our money..unions suck the life out of labor ..they make sure of nothing..

  4. $450 a week is disgraceful. you do realize that this worker is eligible for food stamps and other public assistance in order to feed his family. As the protesters stated $450 week is not a living wage.
    I think public assistance is a good thing however it shouldn’t be necessary to subsidize skilled tradesmen, This skilled tradesmen is not at fault as he is only trying to provide for his family …
    The developer and the owner of the property should be ashamed of themselves for taking advantage of the underprivileged.

    I would not patronize the business that is going into this building and encourage others to do the same.

    Paul Arena

  5. @ Paul Arena $450/week—-It was never specified what the job was. But $11.25/hour is an acceptable entry level wage for a laborer position in the construction industry. If the worker is that skilled why isn’t he not in the Local Union where he can make $0.00/hour unemployed and when the Union puts him to work he gets to pay outrageous Union dues. If anyone should be ashamed it should be the Union.

  6. Joe t axpayer
    $11.25 an hour is hardly a acceptable wage for an adult. Why should I, as a taxpayer have to subsidize substandard workers wages with food stamps and free government healthcare. The aforementioned contractor is taking advantage of the system and disadvantaged workers

    BTW: Union workers not only earn a decent wage but I also receive benefits such as; health insurance, annuity and pension contributions
    Union dues are a small price to pay for the security of long-term lifetime employment

  7. I can’t believe how much these unions think that they belong in today’s economy…it’s a crime to take people’s moneyand to give them a fair job..REALLY..if you are a good employee then you don’t need Union representative to protect you…

  8. Are some people so blind to see what the future holds for them. When you make so little money and low benefits all your life and have nothing to show for it.except maybe minimal wages from social security. While the people you worked for retire and enjoy all the money they have saved not having to pay higher wages to their employees. Don’t you think they deserve a nice retirement too. Pauldine doesn’t lower his rent on anything he owns. He wants top dollar. Maybe he should think that way about his workers. Give them Top dollar so they can live the good life too.

  9. Me Again, trade unions provide training and also benefits. The members get to work for contractors that pay into one fund for benefits that follow the employee to each employers. Also I think everyone knows that especially in this economy it’s important to stick together. Also, we are the ones that keep the standard where it is. We set the prevailing wage because our wage is the average amount. This is because we stick together. You can’t honestly think that employers will pay higher wages just because. They pay it because they compete for well trained employees which the union provides because of our Apprenticeship program.

  10. Jim…I can’t believe the way you say that…let me ask you one thing…name one person who is in any unions..that doesn’t have a relitive working there..if you don’t know anyone or if you don’t…get to kiss some butt… really..it seems when I was employed..I started at the bottom.but because of my vast knowledge.. within three years I was a leader…like I said..no Union ever taught me what I know…I will put you down every chance I can..and most of you can go to the club on the membership money..I was also a steward for several years ..so you should think before you type…

  11. Anthony Pauldine is a wonderful, generous man. He gives people a job that would otherwise be passed over due to a criminal history. I am grateful that my son met him and Tony gave him a chance! The unions need to find their workers jobs, they obviously have a LOT of time on their hands! They show up at worksites and harrass good hard working people that are more than grateful to have a job! Move on to more important issues……how about building a wall?

  12. Of course we all know someone,, we’re all brothers.. pension, annuity, and good health care is what it’s all about, not to mention as a union journyman carpenter you can relocate nationally “if need be” and make the same amount in your package without having to start all over.. if you don’t like that there’s something wrong with ya

  13. As a superintendent and proud member of local 277 , I can honestly say that our union and my brothers and sisters stand behind all working class men and woman, our primary goal is to create a comfortable life for men and woman to raise there family’s and not be forced to have to accept assistance from government programs, the minimal amount of dues we pay is minor compared to the amount of knowledge and skill we have the opportunity to receive , and any person that was or is a union member that is now disgruntle towards unions either wasn’t skilled enough or smart enough to make it in the construction world,

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