Local Trade Workers Protest Local Construction Project With Outside Labor

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Simply put, these local trade workers feel shut out of a big local job, right in their own backyard.

"This is a project that's going to run on for several months, and there's several people employed, and not one local person," organizer John Penney said.

The work is the remodeling of the Courtyard Marriot on East State Street. The demonstrators say St. Louis based contractor Voorhees International Inc. chose out of state workers for the assignment. That doesn't sit well with these protestors who'd rather build it than picket.

"With unemployment being the way it's been we need every chance of work we can get, we have people laid off. It's been a struggle for us, and we really need to work right now," Art Sturms said.

The trade workers argue because of their strong work at the new Winnebago County Justice Center, they deserved a closer look from Voorhees project leaders.

"We are ahead of schedule and ahead of budget to my knowledge, so it's just shows another reason why if we stick with local labor, it's a win-win for everybody," Penney said.

Instead, these folks say they're in a lose-lose situation, as they watch an area project go on without area labor and can't understand why.

"I really can't answer that question. You would think that they would want to use local people that use their facility, but they don't they choose to hire out of state workers," Sturms said.

It’s a passionate, protesting construction group, which hopes 2006 includes them in more protects than in 2005