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Group protests Bemidji construction project

Shawn Theis, left, and organizer Jack Carlson, of the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades District Council 82, protest the construction of Delta Dental’s operations and technology center with a large, inflatable rat on a trailer, and specifically Ford Metro Inc. after the company was chosen to do the glass work on the new building. (Jillian Gandsey | Bemidji Pioneer)

BEMIDJI -- Shawn Theis, left, and organizer Jack Carlson, of the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades District Council 82, protest the construction of Delta Dental’s operations and technology center with a large, inflatable rat on a trailer, and specifically Ford Metro Inc. after the company was chosen to do the glass work on the new building.

Theis and Carlson have been at the site since Tuesday morning along with a handful of other protesters located at a different entrance. Ford Metro Inc. is located in Rochester, Minn., and Kraus-Anderson is the general contractor for the construction.

“This company is coming in from out of the area, where we would like our local members here that live in this town to actually be able to work here and perform the work,” Carlson said.  

“The District Council of UPAT is using its right to conduct lawful picketing on the project to publicize their dispute," said Bob Fitzgerald, vice president and director of operations at the Kraus-Anderson Bemidji office. "From Kraus-Anderson's standpoint, we recognize and respect this right, and we're cooperating with all of the parties to maintain a safe and productive job site. Kraus-Anderson is not signatory to UPAT, but Kraus-Anderson is in compliance with all collective bargaining agreements to which we are signatory.”

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