"Shame on" protests continue, group set to file complaints

"Shame on" protests continue, group set to file complaints »Play Video
The "shame on" pickets were out again in Bakersfield on Thursday, this time at the Heart Hospital on Sillect Avenue. Eyewitness News has continued to investigate these protests by the Carpenters' Union, and we've learned a non-union group plans to file a complaint very soon.

The protest at the Heart Hospital involved a large group of picketers. As in past events, no one there would comment. The actions are organized by the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America out of Los Angeles.

In many locations, the union posts large "Shame On" banners. But, Eyewitness News uncovered a situation at a Santa Barbara Business College renovation site in February, where the project manager says he was roughed up by union people.

That's the specific incident that will be the focus of a complaint planned by the Associated Builders and Contractors. Eyewitness News checked Thursday with spokesman Kevin Korenthal -- and he says they're putting final touches on the complaint.

It'll be filed with the National Labor Relations Board. Korenthal says they'll complain of coercive behavior, invasion of a job site and refusal to leave. They'll also complain the union engaged in acts of physical violence and threats of physical violence.

Associated Builders and Contractors is an organization of non-union contractors. "The union has pushed the envelope too far," Korenthal told Eyewitness News. "We think people are saying -- 'we've had it.'"

As for the union picket Thursday at the Heart Hospital -- again Bakersfield police were called out. Eyewitness News asked Sgt. Greg Terry about that.

"We go out and try to mediate as much as possible," says Sgt. Terry. "A lot of times it comes down to us monitoring them and looking for any violations of the law." Sgt. Terry says if the union is protesting, their actions are protected by law as free speech.

"They are allowed to be on the property and protest and say things. They can walk up and down the sidewalk, they can be on the physical property of the establishment -- again as long as they're not restricting or blocking people from going to or from the business or the establishment."

Sgt. Terry says the police have taken reports about assaults at the union protests, but he didn't have specific information on those cases.

Eyewitness News called three separate spokesmen from the Carpenters' Union on Thursday asking for comment about the picketing at the Heart Hospital. No one returned our calls.

We have also asked for comment about the Santa Barbara Business College incident. A union spokesman in Los Angeles told us "there was nothing like an assault" at the location -- but he would not offer specifics.

Associated Builders and Contractors spokesman Kevin Korenthal said Thursday that their complaint about the Santa Barbara Business College incident should be filed within days.

"We are eager to address this situation," said Korenthal. "We plan to do battle with these union actions on several different fronts."