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Mercy officials say Monday's demonstration was not warranted - KOAM TV 7

Mercy officials say Monday's demonstration was not warranted

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Updated October 23, 2012:  Joplin's Mercy hospital responds to picketers at the new hospital construction site.

Mercy officials say yesterday's demonstration was not warranted.

Mercy says the picketers were from the Operating Engineers Union, claiming that one of the Mercy subcontractors on the job did not have a contract with their union.

However, according to Mercy, that specific contractor wasn't part of the jobsite.

Mercy says all of the employees at the site were in fact union plumbers, pipe-fitters, and sheet metal workers.

Yesterday we attempted to contact the Operating Engineers Union but they refused to comment.

Posted October 22, 2012:  Mercy Hospital officials say several picketers were outside the construction site at around 6 a.m. on Monday.  Mercy officials say because of high winds the steel work would have been delayed anyway, and the progress of the new hospital is right on schedule. 

The picketers would not comment on why they were protesting or what their issues or concerns were but stood holding signs that read  "U.S. Engineering does not have a contract with operating engineers."

The site's project manager, Stephen Meuschke, says they do not know the reason for the picketing but are looking into it.

Operating Engineers Local 101 refused to comment and U.S. Engineering did not return our calls.

"We just want to get the hospital back up and running and construction back out there so we are all trying to work with the union or the operator union to get back to work," says Meuschke.  "We're not set back at this point but we hope to get it resolved very soon with the operators and get everybody back to work."

While there is some dirt and utility work getting done Meuschke says it's the steel work that is the "bigger" item on the to-do list, something he hopes gets up and running to keep progress right on track.

Meuschke says crews are working 10 hour days laying steel during the day and underground work at night.

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