STAMFORD, Conn. – Hundreds of construction workers rallied in Stamford Saturday afternoon to protest the hiring of out-of-state workers for local projects.
More than 200 carpenters, laborers, electricians, plumbers, sheet metal workers and iron workers from local unions marched through the rain, shouting their outrage over Connecticut jobs going to workers from other states. They stopped at three construction sites where workers from other states were working.
“Go home,” they shouted in unison, calling the out-of-state workers “rats” and “scabs.” At one site they stopped a pickup truck with Texas plates from entering the worksite, forcing it to turn around and drive off.
Ted Duarte, a service organizer for the carpenters’ union and one of the organizers of the rally, said that workers were upset that out-of-state workers were being hired for lower rates than local ones. “Connecticut workers should come first.”
Glenn Marshall, former commissioner of the Department of Labor and member of the carpenters’ union, said that he and other union members have been speaking with legislators in Hartford, and support a current bill that would give jobs to Connecticut workers. They are planning another rally in the capital in the coming weeks.
“I think this sends a message that the working class people deserve to have dignity and the chance to make an honest living,” he said of the Stamford rally.
Rallying cries included “Who are we? Union!” and “Together we stand, divided we fall” were shouted by the crowd. Several union leaders spoke using a megaphone, including Ed Reilly of the iron workers union, who said, “Enough is enough. If we allow this to happen we lose everything we fought for for the past 100 years.”
U.S. Rep. Jim Himes also stopped by the rally, encouraging the “brothers and sisters” of Connecticut to stand together for Connecticut jobs.
Duarte was pleased with the turnout, and said this is an ongoing movement that will continue in the weeks ahead. “It’s worth fighting for.”