August 22, 2014

Creston hospital work delayed by strike

The rebuilding of a hospital damaged by a tornado was delayed a bit this month by striking painters. Around 200 members with the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades Local 246 went on strike at midnight on April 30.

Union business manager Bob Gilmore says one of the facilities impacted by the strike is the Greater Regional Medical Center in Creston.

“Unfortunately, one of the contractors that had the work is one of our employers,” Gilmore said.

“When we’re withholding service from our employers, that means they don’t have people to paint and the project can get delayed.” Gilmore noted that union members who’d been working on the Creston hospital prior to the strike offered to volunteer their time and finish the job.

The contractor and the union, however, agreed to pay a handful of painters while the others remain on strike. The union and its employers are scheduled to meet today to negotiate new contract terms.

“In our industry, this is one of the ways, unfortunately, that disagreements are resolved between the employers and the (union) members,” Gilmore said. The tornado that damaged the hospital in Creston on April 14 was categorized as an EF2 with wind speeds of 130 miles an hour.

Six people were injured in the storm in Creston, one critically.