Saturday, October 22 , 2016, 5:11 pm | Fair 65º

  • Follow Noozhawk on LinkedIn
  • Follow Noozhawk on Pinterest
  • Follow Noozhawk on YouTube

Local News

Carpenters Union Hires Banner Holders in Effort to ‘Shame’ Subcontractor of Hospital Project

Protest signs on display along streets in Santa Barbara and Goleta stem from a labor dispute over Goleta Valley Cottage Hospital's $105 million renovation

The “Shame On” banners can’t help but stick out, and there’s no telling how long they’ll be around. All over Santa Barbara and Goleta, people hired by the local chapter of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters & Joiners of America hold the huge, red-printed banners that shout, “Shame On (Name). Labor dispute.”

Carpenters Local 150, based in Camarillo, is in a dispute with CA Hoffman Construction, a subcontractor for HBE Corp. on Goleta Valley Cottage Hospital’s $105 million renovation project.

Banner holders — who reportedly are not members of the union but are paid an hourly rate to stand at the sites and hand out fliers — are staked out at Cottage Health System hospital entrances and the primary businesses of volunteers on the Board of Directors and Goleta Valley Cottage Hospital’s fundraising foundation.

The banner holders have stood in the public right-of-way during the day and taken the signs away with them each evening, about four days a week for the past month. The city has been getting inquiries from residents — “How can you not?” Community Development Director Paul Casey said — but since the banner holders don’t block sidewalks, the city won’t get involved.

No permits are required for temporary protest signs such as these, which are similar in size to those frequently held by Teamsters employees outside the Santa Barbara News-Press offices on Anacapa Street.

“Shame on Joanne Funari, president,” reads the sign outside Business First Bank on State Street. Funari is a bank president by day and volunteers on the hospital’s nonprofit foundation board, which raises funds for renovations and equipment.

HBE Corp. was hired as the design and build firm, so it hires its own subcontractors; thus, the decision to hire CA Hoffman really has nothing to do with any Cottage Health System board members or employees, spokeswoman Janet O’Neill said.

“We agreed on a dollar amount with them and they build the hospital,” she said. “They’re not negotiating other details with us.”

According to O’Neill, Cottage has not been in direct contact with Carpenters Local 150. It has put up informational posters in its Goleta and Santa Barbara hospital lobbies to let employees and patients know why protesters are occasionally outside the hospital entrances. Scroll below to view the poster.

Fliers handed out by banner holders feature a picture of a rat chewing on a U.S. flag.
Fliers handed out by banner holders feature a picture of a rat chewing on a U.S. flag. (Giana Magnoli / Noozhawk photo)

The project at Goleta Valley Cottage Hospital isn’t scheduled to be finished until 2014.

The fliers handed out by banner holders feature a picture of a rat chewing on a U.S. flag aside the basics of the so-called dispute. Targeted board members are accused of “contributing to erosion of area standards for local carpenter craft workers,” since Carpenters Local 150 alleges CA Hoffman “does not meet area labor standards” by not providing for health-care and pension plans for workers.

According to the National Labor Relations Board, “holding a stationary banner in place at a secondary employer’s place of business is more like hand-billing than picketing, and so is generally lawful.”

The Southwest Regional Council of Carpenters is now famous throughout the western United States for this “bannering,” and Chief of Staff Justin Weidner told the Los Angeles Times that the bannering campaigns are effective tactics and they will continue to use them.

There’s no telling how long they’ll stay on the South Coast to protest the hospital project. In Arroyo Grande, Carpenters Local 150 held banners outside Doc Burnstein’s Ice Cream Lab store for nine months to protest the proposed new location in the Santa Maria Town Center, because the mall used drywall contractors not approved by the union.

The group has also protested Meathead Movers and the Holiday Inn Express in San Luis Obispo.

Noozhawk staff writer Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Cottage Health System poster

Reader Comments

Noozhawk's intent is not to limit the discussion of our stories but to elevate it. Comments should be relevant and must be free of profanity and abusive language and attacks.

By posting on Noozhawk, you:

» Agree to be respectful. Noozhawk encourages intelligent and impassioned discussion and debate, but now has a zero-tolerance policy for those who cannot express their opinions in a civil manner.

» Agree not to use Noozhawk’s forums for personal attacks. This includes any sort of personal attack — including, but not limited to, the people in our stories, the journalists who create these stories, fellow readers who comment on our stories, or anyone else in our community.

» Agree not to post on Noozhawk any comments that can be construed as libelous, defamatory, obscene, profane, vulgar, harmful, threatening, tortious, harassing, abusive, hateful, sexist, racially or ethnically objectionable, or that are invasive of another’s privacy.

» Agree not to post in a manner than emulates, purports or pretends to be someone else. Under no circumstances are readers posting to Noozhawk to knowingly use the name or identity of another person, whether that is another reader on this site, a public figure, celebrity, elected official or fictitious character. This also means readers will not knowingly give out any personal information of other members of these forums.

» Agree not to solicit others. You agree you will not use Noozhawk’s forums to solicit and/or advertise for personal blogs and websites, without Noozhawk’s express written approval.

Noozhawk’s management and editors, in our sole discretion, retain the right to remove individual posts or to revoke the access privileges of anyone who we believe has violated any of these terms or any other term of this agreement; however, we are under no obligation to do so.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >