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Union Response - Stop Union Bullying Campaigns

Posted Sep 19, 2013 by Dave Scaturro

 Union Response - Stop Union Bullying Campaigns

Recently the Local Painters Union, District Council 9 and Local 711, have attacked Alpine Painting by mounting a Union Smear Campaign against our Family Business.

The question remains “Why Are They Doing This?”

We believe that these Local Labor Unions have recognized Alpine Painting as one of the top Commercial and Industrial Painting Contractors in the NJ & NY Area. Both Labor Unions tried for years to Sign our Firm to their Local. When Alpine Painting expressed it wasn’t in our company’s best interest to join them they started this abusive multi-level attack.

John Foy, (Director of Business Development for NJ Labor Union DC 711) and John Drew, (NY DC 9 Painters Union Member) have sent numerous letters to our customers stating that we are an unscrupulous contractor, that Alpine Painting is Underpaying our workers or Not Paying Areas Standard Wages and that we may be Cheating the Government and our Customers. The DC9 Painters Union created a Website to degrade our Name hosting pictures of Crooks Running off with Bags of Money, A Knife in the Back of a Working Person and Boots Stomping on a Family Sitting at the Dinner Table.

The local labor unions have used bullying tactics to intimidate us and to mislead the public about our business practices. This type of campaign is not an isolated attack on Alpine Painting alone. This is part of a national trend by organized labor to regain lost market share in the construction, manufacturing and service industries.

The union allege in their slogans and publications that Alpine “Violated the Law,” is an “Unscrupulous Painting Contractor” and “Cheated the Government and their Workers”. Nothing could be further from the truth! Alpine Painting & Sandblasting Contractors has been in business since 1975 and is in good standing with all regulatory agencies and our customers. Our business practices get audited annually by various regulatory agencies and the largest painters association in the United States of America, the Society of Protective Coatings (SSPC).

You may have read that Alpine violated Section 220 of the New York State Labor Law on a project in 2008/2009 (Case # PW112009006892), but what you won’ tread in the union propaganda is that Alpine paid all of its workers according to the local Painter prevailing wage rate, for that project, for every hour that they worked! You may ask yourself, why is Alpine in violation of the Labor Law? That is a good question and one that has a reasonable answer.


Several painter wage rates existed at the time that project took place. One was the “Painter (Sandblaster-Painter)” rate and the other was the “Painter (Bridge & Structural Steel)” rate. Upon review of the published prevailing wage information at the time of the project, the Painter (Bridge & Structural Steel) rate description used the wording, “…without the support of solid scaffolding” to illustrate when someone should classify something as structural steel. During this project we used full supported scaffold to access this elevated pipeline, so it was clearly not structural steel, according to the NYDOL description. Since the word “Bridge” was never used in the contract or by the owner to describe the elevated pipeline, we felt as though the proper rate to be paid was the “Painter (Sandblaster-Painter)” rate (Please see… /casestudies/rockland_county_sewer_district_no._1_pipelines_nanuet_ny_and_blauvelt_ny for a case study with photos and videos of the project in question, for which Alpine won two national awards. Near the end of the project the painters union’s business agent arrived on site and was very upset that Alpine, an open/merit shop contractor, was performing painting work on this project. Upon investigation of our certified payroll reports, the union filed a grievance with the NY State Department of Labor against Alpine for improper payment of prevailing wages on this project. The union claimed that the elevated pipeline was a bridge and the higher “Painter (Bridge & Structural Steel)” wage rate should have been paid.


The NY State Department of Labor (NYDOL) agreed with the union and directed Alpine to pay the higher wage to its employees plus interest and penalties. Alpine and its attorney did not agree with the determination and felt as though we had a good case to challenge the determination of the Department of Labor. During meetings with the NYDOL, Alpine claimed that the only published information in the prevailing wage description said that by utilizing supported scaffold the proper wage was paid. In addition, the title of the project was “Hackensack River / Nauraushaun Brook Siphon Rehabilitation” and was never referred to as a bridge. The NYDOL contended that their expert in classification of the prevailing wage laws, the union, contends that this elevated pipeline is a bridge. Since the burden was upon Alpine to prove the NYDOL wrong, we were not able to find sufficient evidence to convince the NYDOL to change their determination. Since the cost of litigation was becoming incredibly expensive and nearly double the amount of money was being held from Alpine on unrelated public contracts for nearly 3 years, we decided to concede to the NYDOL ruling and not pursue the matter in court. Unfortunately, since Alpine challenged the ruling of the NYDOL, the violation was classified as willful in the eyes of New York State Labor Law.


Since the NYDOL forced other public agencies to withhold payment from Alpine on unrelated projects, the State of New York paid the wages and interest to Alpine’s employees who worked on the project and kept the penalty payments. The rest of the money that the State withheld from Alpine for approximately 3 years, was paid to Alpine for work completed.


 Does Alpine owe an outstanding $93,172.00 to the government and workers of our communities?

o No, the government withheld that money from Alpine for approximately 3 years until the case was settled.

 Did Alpine willfully withhold payment from their employees?

o No, Alpine paid the wage that it determined was correct at the time of the project.

 Did Alpine willfully cheat the government?

o No, Alpine didn’t cheat anyone.

 Does Alpine agree with the NYDOL’s wage rate determination on that project?

o No, Alpine does not agree with the NYDOL determination, but respects its authority.

 Does Alpine cheat their customers?

o No, the Rockland County Sewer District #1 did not feel cheated on this project and we have performed several other projects for them since this one. They continue to be a great reference for Alpine Painting.

 Should Alpine’s existing and potential customers be badgered by the Painters Union with misleading claims about its business practices?

o No, Alpine, nor its customers, have any interest in the union or their misleading claims. We pay our employees a fair wage and provide a fair price for work we perform for our customers.

 Does Alpine “cheat working men and women by destroying the living standards?”

o No, Alpine pays its employees fair wages and complies with all Local, State and Federal regulations.

 Does Alpine have “an unfair advantage on being awarded public work jobs by underpaying their workers?”

o No, Alpine pays the required wage on every public project it completes and submits certified payroll reports to confirm those payments.

Alpine Painting & Sandblasting Contractors is a well-respected contracting firm with a great reputation. We encourage any of our existing customers or potential customers to contact us at any time with any questions they have of Alpine’s management or its employees. We hope to do business with you in the future and are sorry for any inconveniences you may have been exposed to, during any Painter’s Union demonstrations.

Dave Scaturro
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Call Dave Scaturro, Commercial Painting Specialist, at (973) 279-3200 x224 or use our online application.

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