Thank you for your informative article, "Big Beer."
As the union's business agent, I am pleased to inform North Coast Journal readers that the United Association (UA) of Plumbers and Steamfitters, did perform some work on the new brewery. One member worked on the cooling system and a few other members from other UA Locals performed gas distribution and fire protection work.
The bulk of the piping (thousands of construction hours) however, involved plumbing and process piping that could have been performed by our local members but, unfortunately, this work was outsourced by Lost Coast.
When it came to hiring for the new brewery, Barbara Groom earlier had suggested the choice was one of joining the plumbers union in solidarity or to "live as free people without fear." We say the choice is about fairness. When employers support labor standards in their hiring practices, workers are provided the dignity their work deserves. Labor standards allow workers the means to support local stores, businesses, restaurants and services as well as the possibility to afford owning a home and paying property taxes that, in turn, support local schools and community functions. By not hiring UA Local 290 members, apprentice training opportunities were lost. Employing apprentices is important for the future of our workforce and for maintaining the standards of our industry, safe practices and quality craftsmanship.
In an op-ed piece in the Times-Standard, Barbara Groom said: "The proper business decision for Lost Coast Brewery would be to build the new brewery in Texas or North Carolina. ..." Where would Lost Coast Brewery be without our local consumers and location? Sure, maybe now that it is established, it could have chosen to leave Humboldt County, but would Lost Coast have had the same success had they started in Texas or North Carolina? Gulf Coast Brew, anyone?
Craig Spjut, Eureka