‘They deserve better’: Demolition workers picket for fair wages outside of Lake St. parking garage site

‘Anywhere they go, we’re gonna follow them to let the contractor and all the owners know you need to pay them fair standard wages,’ organizer says

· Feb 7, 2024 Tweet

Sophia Scolman/The Badger Herald

Picketers gathered outside HM Brandt, LLC’s worksite Wednesday morning where workers are currently demolishing the State Street Parking Garage at 415 N. Lake Street.

Employees from HM Brandt, LLC are being contracted under Stevens Construction Corp., the company that won the $36 million bid for the City of Madison’s new mixed-use project. The project will make space for a bus terminal for Bus Rapid Transit, student housing and a new public parking structure, according to the City of Madison website.

Mike Ervin, Organizing Director for the International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 139, said HM Brandt, LLC, based in Lannon, Wisconsin, has not paid employees standard wages.

“We are here picketing HM Brandt, LLC for failure to pay standard wages,” Ervin said. “They are not paying their workers standard wages and benefits. By doing that, they’re suppressing the market in the area and taking work away from individuals that want to have this work.”

All subcontractors are act in accordance with the company’s contract with the City of Madison, Stevens Construction Corp. President and CEO Mark Rudnicki said in an email statement to The Badger Herald after this article’s publication.

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Flyers distributed by the picketers say standard wages in the area are $43.23 per hour with 100% employer-paid healthcare and pension benefits. The flyers called on the general public to voice support and urge HM Brandt, LLC to “pay its employees fair, area standard wages and fringe benefits to perform such hazardous work for the benefit of the employees.” 

Ervin pointed to the sometimes dangerous nature of work in the construction industry, further emphasizing the need for appropriate wages.

“The construction industry, our job, is one of the most dangerous jobs out there,” Ervin said. “They deserve better.”

Ervin said he and other representatives from the International Union of Operating Engineers will stand at the picket line as long as employees continue to work. Representatives from the union are also picketing for HM Brandt, LLC employees in Milwaukee.

“Anywhere they go, we’re gonna follow them to let the contractor and all the owners know you need to pay them fair standard wages,” Ervin said.

At the time of this article’s publication, HM Brandt, LLC, Stevens Construction Corp. and the City of Madison Engineering had not responded to The Badger Herald’s request for comment.

Sophia Scolman contributed to reporting for this story.

Editor’s Note: This story was updated to include a statement from Stevens Construction Corp.


This article was published Feb 7, 2024 at 10:49 am and last updated Feb 8, 2024 at 2:45 pm


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