Madison - St. Clair Record

Thursday, September 19, 2019

O'Fallon mayoral candidate condemns labor union over threats at hospital work site

By Ann Maher | Apr 1, 2017

O'Fallon mayoral candidate Phil Goodwin condemned actions by laborers from the International Union Local 670 at the construction site of St. Elizabeth's Hospital last week, which according to a memo prepared by a responding police officer prompted the department to step up patrols and the contractor to seek extra security.

According to the memo obtained by the Record, laborers from O'Fallon Local 670 "are causing problems with other trades on the site."

"These issues have escalated to one O'Fallon laborer threatening to 'grab his gun from his vehicle and start shooting people,'" states the memo. 

A request was made for officers to "frequently" drive through the construction site during the day for the next few days as call volume allows. 

Goodwin said the "reckless behavior" described in the memo was "shameful."

"O’Fallon is not a city where this type of bully warfare will be tolerated," he said in a statement. "We have had decades of growth because we are a safe and inviting community for business and families.

"For a local union to conduct themselves in this manner is disgraceful and has no place in our city."

Officer Christopher Gottschall initially responded to the incident that occurred on Thursday. He was unavailable for comment on Saturday, and a copy of the incident report was not immediately available.

The memo further states that a construction official believed that problems with the union "are going to continue and may get worse as the work at the hospital begins to come to an end, and the laborers start to fight for additional work."

It states that the contractor, Alberici, would request to hire officers for secondary employment as on-site security - one for a 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. period and another to work from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday for two weeks, initially.

Goodwin is O'Fallon city clerk and up against alderman Herb Roach to succeed long-time mayor Gary Grahman in next Tuesday's election.

In his statement released on Saturday, Goodwin connected Roach to Local 670 saying union workers have been canvasing the city on his behalf.

Goodwin said in February that Roach's campaign sent an email "instructing union members to remove my campaign signs until the O'Fallon Police Department and the property owner stopped them."

"Now the O’Fallon Police Department is once again called to protect property and hard working construction workers because members of the Local 670 are using intimidation and threats of violence to halt construction at the site of our new hospital," he stated. "This is a waste of our police department’s valuable time and resources."

Roach responded that he was not aware of any details about the incident, but that he in no way would condone "violence of any kind."

He said the way to work out grievances is to sit down and work them out.

Roach acknowledged the support he has received from unions.

His campaign committee report filed with the State Board of Elections shows a $1,000 contribution from the Steamfitters Local 439 in Caseyville in February, but nothing from the Local 670 or any other labor groups. All together, Roach's financial disclosure reports show he has only raised $6,900 through the course of the campaign from seven contributors.

Goodwin, on the other hand, has raised more than $50,000 from 48 contributors.

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City of O'Fallon