Why are there individuals on the Fulton Street side of campus holding protest signs?
These individuals are representing the Michigan Carpenters’ Union and the activity they are involved in is called “bannering,” a lawful practice under the National Labor Relations Act of displaying large stationary banners on public property.
Did Aquinas College participate in any wrongful employment activity involving the union?
No. The construction company holding the contract for the Sturrus Sports & Fitness Center renovation project hired a local subcontractor to do the flooring, whose employees have not elected to join a union. This was completely legal. However, it is work that the Carpenters' Union wants to go to a contractor whose employees belong to the Carpenters' Union. The Carpenters’ Union is bannering construction projects throughout the Grand Rapids area on which non-union contractors were used in an effort to bring pressure on the building owners, such as Aquinas College, to only use contractors with unionized employees.
How long will they be bannering outside the campus?
We do not know a timeframe for the bannering activity occurring in front of the Sturrus Sports & Fitness Center. Construction of the Center was completed in 2010; bannering occurring at other sites is continuing well beyond completion dates as well.
What if I have a problem with the people doing the bannering?
People doing the bannering are supposed to stay on the public right of way and remain stationary. They are not allowed to "picket" or otherwise block ingress and egress to the building. We do not anticipate any problems, as we assume the Michigan Carpenters' Union is well aware of the rules for bannering and its people at the site will honor those rules. However, if you have any problems you may contact Campus Safety at (616) 632-2462.
If you have any other questions about the bannering issue, please feel free to contact Kevin Kwiatkowsk, Director of Campus Safety, at (616) 632-2467.