Police escort needed at Eddy Commons construction site

Some non-union workers needed a police escort to enter the Eddy Street Commons construction site near Notre Dame Thursday.

“You had a few (police) officers that were, I think, kind of ready to take us to jail,” said Robert Kara, President of the Ironworkers local 292 in South Bend.

A group of union ironworkers formed a picket line early Thursday morning.

The picketers say they refused to move when two trucks full of non union workers approached around eight a.m. “So they backed up (and) left for quite a while,” said Dustin Green of Ironworkers local 292.

Around noon, the non-union workers returned along with police.

“When they opened the gate for Lamar (Construction),” said Green, “I walked inside the job site and continued to hold the line and the police, M. Grant, pushed me out of the way.”

When asked how close some union members came to getting arrested, the union president said, “It came pretty close.”

Robert Kara added, “certainly we feel strong about our issue, myself and some of our members aren’t afraid to go to jail for something we believe in.”

While work on the site did not stop, it did appear to slow considerably.

Later in the day, the picketers were reluctant to move for two semi trucks that were trying to deliver structural steel to the site. Eventually the trucks did gain entrance, by inching their way past the picketers and the gates.

“Together we can stand up to moneyed interests, together we can stand up to the people who say you guys don't need a living wage,” said Green.

The ironworkers say they’ll stay on the picket line until the non union workers leave the job site.

“We can’t work next to a rat company” said ironworker Desireia Latoya Liggins.

The union workers are involved in the Eddy Street Commons project. They are building the city parking garage.

The non-union workers are said to be working on a building next door to the garage.