2010-03-03 / Opinion

Let unions bid on project

Dear Editor:

(Editor's note - Matthew Adams wrote this letter to Dr. Kevin Miller, Superintendent, Croswell-Lexington Schools. He requested publication in the News)

Dear Dr. Miller

Please allow me to introduce myself, I am Matthew Adams Sr., a local resident since 1966. My wife Beverly and I are Cros-Lex alumni, '78 and '79 respectively, as well as my two eldest children, Matt Jr. in '06 and Katrina in '09 and my youngest, Garion is a sophomore. I have lived and worked here, owned and operated businesses here all my life up until 2001, when I joined the United Brotherhood of Carpenters union as a commercial carpenter. Since then I only live here.

Being a homeowner, as well as a commercial property owner, I endeavor to be a conscientious and informed tax-paying registered voter. My family has always supported the school district in millage elections for the last 44 years, from my grandparents to my parents, myself and now my children.

I am writing you to express my thoughts and view of our upcoming construction project, especially the phase we're in now, putting the project up for bid. I understand that there has already been a "meet and greet" with local contractors and I am concerned that you may not get a complete or accurate consensus of the community's opinion in this matter.

Contrary to some opinions, the priority here is to get the greatest value for our construction dollar, not necessarily to employ local contractors. Having worked both union and non-union in the construction industry, I can honestly say that the median quality of workmanship and productivity, in my experience, has been higher on the union sites I've worked and the commercial tradesmen were better trained, overall, for institutional work, as compared to crews that primarily do residential work.

Statistically, the gross cost per square foot is the same, union or non, with the only real difference being the net profit of the contractor and cost of labor, i.e. union wages do not directly affect the bottom line, only the contractor's profit.

The intent of my letter is to express my opinion as a tax-payer and to do my part as a union brother to ensure that our signatory contractors are not excluded from the bidding process, by coincidence or otherwise. Realistically, a union presence is neither foreign nor threatening. About 100 brother carpenters reside in Sanilac County - we are a part of this community. Besides, the contract goes to the lowest bidder, so all rhetoric and postulation is moot.

Thank you for your time Dr. Miller. have a great day and keep up he good work!
Matthew Adams Sr.

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