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'As long as it takes': IBEW workers protest hiring practices during construction of new FedEx facility in Marion

  • Local 702 of the IBEW organized a picket at the site of the new FedEx warehouse facility under construction in Marion on Tuesday morning.

    Local 702 of the IBEW organized a picket at the site of the new FedEx warehouse facility under construction in Marion on Tuesday morning.
    Holly Kee photo

  • Local law enforcement officers were on the scene of the INEW picket at the site of the new FedEx facility in Marion on Tuesday morning.

    Local law enforcement officers were on the scene of the INEW picket at the site of the new FedEx facility in Marion on Tuesday morning.
    Holly Kee photo

 
BY HOLLY KEE
hkee@localsouthernnews.com
Posted on 6/28/2022, 6:31 PM

MARION -- Over 150 local union workers gathered at the site of a new FedEx facility under construction in Marion on Tuesday morning.

According to a statement released by Tate Wright, the Business Manager for Local 702 of the IBEW, local union employees are upset that Gaylor Electric is not employing local workers at the project.

Representatives of Gaylor Electric did not return messages left via phone prior to press time.

In a written statement, Wright said, "IBEW Local 702 is notifying the public that Gaylor Electric pays its workers wages and benefits that are less than the wages and benefits that are the standard for this area. They are using workers from out of state to perform the work on this site. There are highly skilled men and women right here in our area that are unemployed and looking for jobs. When companies like Gaylor Electric and others on this site bring in a workforce from out of state it takes jobs away from local unemployed skilled tradesmen and women who live here, work here, pay taxes here, raise their children here, and shop here. Using a local workforce keeps the money from this project in our local economy and helps the entire community."

Officials announced the construction of the new facility earlier this month, a 250,000 square foot distribution center on the west side of Marion just west of Pepsi MidAmerica.

At that time, a spokesman for FedEx said the facility will employ both full and part time employees, but did not confirm how many positions might be available.

Marion Mayor Mike Absher declined to comment on the situation.

Union members picketing were quiet and peaceful. At least six local law enforcement officers were also on the scene.

Wright, who was on the scene, referred questions to the written statement. However, when how long the picketing would last, he replied, "As long as it takes."