“Shame on Tennessee Tech” reads a sign in bold, red letters visible from Dixie Avenue. The sign has been placed there by the Mid-South Carpenters Regional Council. The sign signifies a labor dispute between Tech and the organization.
When approached, the persons behind the sign could not give out any information. They give out flyers to anyone who approaches them.
“Shame on Tennessee for Desecration of the American Way of Life,” reads the top of the flyer. Below this statement is a structure housing a rat that appears to be chewing on an American flag.
The flyer continues: “Shame on Tennessee Tech for contributing to the erosion of area standards for Tennessee’s Carpenters. Mid-South Carpenters Regional Council has a labor dispute with Proffitt & Sons which is a subcontractor currently working at Tennessee Tech. Proffitt & Sons does not meet area labor standards, including providing or fully paying for family healthcare for all of its carpenter craft employees.”
The sign has been placed opposite from the construction area that will be New Hall North.
Proffitt and Sons is a drywall corporation based out of Knoxville, Tenn. and their website indicates that the business has been operating for 30 years. Under the list of their current projects is “Tennessee Tech/Residence Hall.”
“As we have stated many times during this ordeal, we do not have a labor dispute with anyone,” said Ray Proffit, Jr., the president of Proffitt and Sons, in an online letter issued to customers. “We have no issues or disagreements with the union. We are a good provider and employer of jobs in East Tenn. We treat our employees well.”
The Mid-South Carpenters Regional Council is an affiliate of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America, as stated by their website. Their organization has been involved in labor issues since the late 19th century. The website states that the main goal of the organization is to improve the lives of its members.
The Mid-South Carpenters Regional Council claims there are labor standards not being addressed. Proffitt and Sons claims that they have high quality standards for their employees and there is no real issue.