Group pickets Holland Partners

A developer behind three apartment projects in the works in Glendale is getting heat from a Los Angeles-area union for hiring subcontractors that allegedly don't meet the bargaining group's standards for fair wages and benefits.

Carpenters Local 209, which represents concrete workers, has representatives stationed at Brand and Wilson avenues in front of a Holland Partners project holding a white banner that reads "Shame on Mr. Clyde Holland and Holland Partners" and passing out yellow fliers that describe the labor dispute. Clyde Holland is the company's chief executive.

Washington-based Holland Partners plans to build three six-story developments along three blocks of Wilson Avenue, bringing a combined total of 554 apartments to the downtown core.

Two of the projects — one at Brand and Wilson avenues the other at Orange Street and Wilson — are under construction, but a third may not come online for some time. Holland Partners has a 14-year contract to develop the third complex, slated at Central and Wilson.

Tom Warren, chief operating officer of Holland Development in Southern California, said the company had no comment about the labor dispute.

The Holland Partners projects are three of several new apartment complexes coming to downtown Glendale with more than 2,000 units under construction or in the pipeline.

In addition to being behind several projects, Holland Partners is also the sole corporate donor to Glendale's 2014 Tournament of Roses Parade. The company donated $10,000 to the city for the float.

Although representatives from Carpenters Local 209 would not talk about the conflict, Dan Macdonald, business manager for a partner union, Carpenters Local 1506, said the bargaining group has had a long-running campaign against one of the subcontractors, California Structural Concepts.

"The carpenters union feels it has a responsibility to uphold those wage and benefit standards within our industry," Macdonald said, noting that concrete workers at the Holland Partners projects in Glendale are getting paid $12 to $15 an hour with substandard benefits, while area labor standards dictate carpenters be paid $27 per hour.

"He's paying a wage that would never allow any worker to live in those apartments," Macdonald said.

When asked why the union's fight was against Holland Partners and not the contracted companies — California Structural Concepts and Southwest Concrete Construction — Macdonald said, in the end, Holland Partners is responsible for the subcontractors it hires.

"They're the decision-maker here," he said. "They're the ones who ultimately decide who they contract with."

Representatives for the subcontractors could not be reached for comment.

Union representatives aren't the only ones wagging their fingers at Holland Partners.

At a council meeting this week, Councilman Ara Najarian said he was upset the city "bent over backwards" to give Holland Partners a 14-year contract to build the third project. Najarian voted against the 14-year agreement in July.

Najarian called on city officials to report back to the council about the labor dispute, but his request fell flat. He received no verbal support from his colleagues at the meeting. To put a city report about the dispute on the council agenda requires requests by two council members or the mayor.

"I stand with those laborers," Najarian said. "This has to stop."


Follow Brittany Levine on Google+ and on Twitter: @brittanylevine.


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