For the past two months, the future site of Thomas Jefferson Law School in the East Village has been the location of an orderly protest regarding labor matters. At the southeast corner of 11th and Island avenues, there is a handful of men picketing peacefully. Across the street, on the northeast corner of the intersection, another group of men can be seen propping up a labor-dispute banner.
Emblazoned on the banner in stark red ink are the words “SHAME ON,” directed toward Thomas Jefferson Law School. While the banner takes a direct jab at the law school, the protesters on the other side of the street are protesting against J.T. Wimsatt Contracting Co., Inc., a company working on the Thomas Jefferson Law School project.
When asked what they were protesting about, a man holding the banner gave a shrug and pointed toward the direction of his counterparts across the street for answers. None of the men were willing to offer an explanation of their grievances.
“All I can say is that it’s over a few different issues,” explains John Flott, one of the men picketing and a member of the International Union of Operating Engineers Local No. 12. “We are gagged,” added Flott, who indicated that Union District Representative Dan Hawn be contacted for an official statement on the matter. Hawn was not immediately available for comment.
Despite their labor disputes, the men on strike believe that construction at the site will continue to move forward.
Locals are anxiously awaiting the completion of an eight-story campus but have been worried about further setbacks to the project, which has already seen delays from the discovery of mammoth, grey whale, and sloth fossils.
Editor's note: Chris Saunders, communications specialist for the Thomas Jefferson School of Law emailed the Reader on Tuesday, June 23, to say that “construction of the downtown campus is seven to ten days ahead of schedule." Work was unimpeded by the fossil finds, says Saunders, "because the construction crews were able to work around the digs."