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Carpenters target Columbia Bank headquarters

Post by John Gillie / The News Tribune on Aug. 27, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
August 27, 2012 3:11 pm

The same union that erected a banner last month outside a Tacoma discount clothing store now is targeting another Tacoma business for its ire, and that business says its been unfairly singled out.

The Pacific Northwest Regional Council of Carpenters, is now “bannering” Columbia Bank’s Tacoma headquarters on A Street in downtown Tacoma.

There demonstrators have erected a large banner outside the regional bank’s headquarters that proclaims, “Labor Dispute” and “Shame on Melanie Dressel.”

Dressel is president and chief executive of the Tacoma-based financial institution.

“This is getting ridiculous,” said Dressel. The union, she said, has never contacted the bank or her. The bank is not involved in any sort of labor dispute with the union, she said.

A flier being distributed outside the bank headquarters says the union is protesting because a Columbia Bank remodeling project in Spokane employed a non-union subcontractor to install drywall.

That subcontractor, Drywall Specialties Inc., was hired, not by the bank, but by general contractor Baker Construction and Development.

Dressel said the bank’s landlord had picked Baker to handle remodeling work within the building. The bank asked that its space be included in that remodeling project.

The union claims Drywall Specialties pays substandard wages and benefits.

The carpenters union has erected banners outside the Spokane bank and at other Columbia branches as well as at the headquarters.

The bank president said the remodeling project has been completed for weeks, so there’s no action the bank could take now that apparently would please the union.

A call to the union for comment was not returned.

The banner outside the bank headquarters is similar to one the union erected outside a South 38th Street Ross store last month.

That protest was aimed at a non-union subcontractor who had installed drywall at a new Ross store miles away on South Hill. Like the Spokane bank drywall job, the Ross drywalling job had been completed weeks ago.

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