August 12, 2016
By Joe Maniscalco
Westchester, NY – “Scabbie”, Labor’s trusty inflatable rat was a rare sight on the Harlem River this week, as Teamsters Local 456 dispatched the ugly rodent to protest Titan Concrete’s even uglier undercutting of area standards, wages and benefits in Westchester County.
Bronx-based Titan Concrete truckers began appearing on the streets Westchester County earlier this spring.
In addition to paying its drivers far below union wages and threatening a new race to the bottom, Local 456 President Louis Picani tells LaborPress that Titan Concrete’s trucks are overwieght and dangerous. One truck reportedly “snapped” exiting Titan’s Fordam base recently, while another allegedly flipped over with an unlicensed driver inside on July 15, in Tarrytown.
“These trucks are weapons on the streets of Westchester,” Picani said.
Established union wages for truck drivers in Westchester County average about $55 an hour including pensions, annuities and healthcare.
Titan Concrete drivers, meanwhile, reportedly earn just $21 an hour with little or no benefits. According to Picani, drivers are working in fear and are afraid to speak out because they could lose their jobs.
“It’s not the drivers’ fault,” Picani said. “They’re afraid to speak up and be fired.”
Responsible contractors in Westchester County are also seeing red because Titan Concrete’s sub-par wages are allowing the rogue company to undercut them as well. But Local 456 is determined to not let that continue.
“They are not going to come up here and violate everything we have worked so hard to build,” Picani said. “The only reason they are able to operate here is by undercutting all the legitimate companies who are not going to cut corners and jeopardize people to make dollars.”
This week, “Scabbie” hit the “high seas” to bring attention to Titan Concrete’s anti-worker practices, but Local 456 says that the inflatable rat will follow Titan trucks to every location they visit in Westchester County.
“If there’s a project by the water, the rat will be on the water,” Picani said. “We will follow them to the gates of hell.”