Philly carpenters to picket Merion Golf Club through U.S. Open

U.S. Open Merion golf club
The Merion Golf Club, site of the 2013 U.S. Open. (Credit: Rikard Larma / Metro).

The United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America Metropolitan Regional Council of Philadelphia resumed picketing on Thursday at the Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, which will from June 13 through 16 host the 2013 U.S. Open Golf Championship.

The union claims the United States Golf Association failed to honor terms of a month-old labor agreement with the carpenters for work they performed at the golf club.

“The USGA under-budgeted our scope of the work,” Carpenters Union business manager Ed Coryell said in a statement.

“They never included us in the budgeting process, they never shared the numbers with us, and now they’re saying they’re out of money, which is ludicrous. We’re talking about one of the biggest golf tournaments in the world.”

The Carpenters Union was joined by members of the Stagehand Union in April, who picketed the USGA for allegedly using Mexican nationals to perform most of the work for the U.S. Open.

The two sides reached an agreement in mid-April until this week, when, according to a release, the USGA “abruptly” informed the Carpenters Union that the organization had run out of money and the carpenters’ services would no longer be needed.

“It’s not our fault that they under-budgeted and it’s not fair that we’re not being allowed to complete the work we were promised … and there’s a lot of work yet to be done,” Coryell said.

He said the Carpenters Union willingly gave up jurisdictional rights to do works on bleachers, tents, carpeting and scaffolding in exchange for being assigned carpentry work, but their “good faith” was “betrayed” by the USGA.

“It looks like the original agreement was nothing more than an attempt to appease us and get us to take down the initial picket line,” Coryell said.

“When they sprung this little surprise on us this week, we asked if we could sit down at the negotiating table and work this out. We were told they were too busy and couldn’t meet with us until June 18th at the earliest, which is, of course, after the U.S. Open.

“We’re not going to stand for this shameful treatment, which is why we’re back on the picket line now and will remain there right through the tournament, unless and until they return to the negotiating table and bargain with us in good faith.”

More than 25 carpenters are currently manning three picket lines at the Merion Golf Club, including the main entrance on Ardmore Avenue.

They plan to picket the site through the U.S. Open.


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