Fat Cat, other inflatables visit Superior

Operating Engineers Local 139 has been barnstorming the upper Midwest, following Sunbelt Rentals as the rental company serves contractors and job sites. Recently, the local brought the Fat Cat to Superior at the Central Flats development to call attention to its complaint.
“Anywhere we see their equipment, we show up,” said Mike Ervin, organizing director for Local 139. “We go everywhere we see their equipment, and the bottom line is to maximize our message with the public. It’s not about the contractor or the developer, just Sunbelt Rentals.”
Local 139 was certified in 2018 to serve as the bargaining representative for employees, and Ervin said that after negotiations began, the local felt that the employer wasn’t bargaining in good faith. “They would only meet once a month, and there were captive meetings,” he said. “They didn’t seem as interested to come to an agreement as we were.”
In March 2019, the local filed charges for bad-faith bargaining and started handbilling and bannering. In May of this year, an administrative law judge ruled in favor of the local, but the education campaign continues, Ervin said, as Sunbelt appeals the decision.
“We’re asking the public to show support to workers,” he said. He stressed that the complaint is with Sunbelt only, and that contractors were not being targeted at all. “We’re just trying to call attention to the fact that it’s about Sunbelt.”

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