Protesters Rally for a Contract Renewal and Higher Wages Today in Waukee
Members of the IUPAT local 246 took to Alice's Road Wednesday to garner support for higher wages and a contact renewal.
Barry Mutchler didn't flinch Wednesday morning when strong winds nearly blew away the picket sign he hoisted high above his head.
Instead, Mutchler, along with his son and a fellow painter, Raymond Cochrane, 18, continued to rally support from passers-by on Alice's Road as they waited for a resolution on a contract that could put them back to work as early as next week.
Mutchler told Patch that he and other members of the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT) local 246 were out of work after 1st Interiors at 1100 S.E. Westbrooke Drive and Alice's Road, failed to renew their contract on April 30.
1st Interiors is a contractor representing several area businesses that provide jobs for area tradesmen.
"Our contract was up on the 30th at midnight and they didn’t sign another one to prolong it," Mutchler said. "We’re trying to get a three-year contract, but they’re not willing to negotiate it."
The person answering the phone at 1st Interiors Wednesday afternoon said there was no one available to comment.
Mutchler, a painter and 25-year union member, added that an increase in hourly wages was also on the table.
"Last year we took a 40-cent-an-hour cut in pay, so this year we’re saying we want something back," he said. "We have bills to pay and we need to get back out there."
Mutchler said the representatives of the union met with 1st Interiors today at 1 p.m.; the company didn't comment on the meeting. The union will not be able to vote on whatever resolution arises until a separate meeting at 4 p.m. Thursday, Mutchler said.
"I just want to get back to work, the sooner the better," said Cochrane. "Hopefully, we’ll get something that will be worth our while."