Flyers distributed Wednesday during a local labor union's protest allege the Chandler Center for the Arts is guilty of the "desecration of the American way of life" and depict a large rat devouring an American flag.
Three union members took shelter from the morning sun under umbrellas as they protested in front of the arts center on the northwest corner of Arizona Avenue and Chandler Boulevard downtown. The large sign they supported, featuring the phrases "Labor Dispute" and "Shame on the Chandler Center for the Arts," drew curious looks from the hundreds of Chandler High School students parading by just before noon.
The arts center is undergoing a voter-approved, $6.7 million renovation that includes the replacement of the theater's light rigging and the reupholstery of its seats, among other things. It's slated to reopen in May 2010. In the meantime, smaller performances are being held in the center's Bogle Theater and Recital Hall, while larger acts have been moved to the Higley Center for the Performing Arts in Gilbert.
The union protesters declined to identify themselves, but their flyers refer to the Carpenters Local 1506 union. It criticizes the city-owned arts center for allegedly hurting local carpenters by hiring Adobe Drywall, which the union claims doesn't fully pay for family health benefits and pensions.
"A rat is a contractor that does not pay all of its employees area standard wages, including either providing making payments for health care and pension benefits," the flyer states.
Union representatives could not be reached for comment.
Jane Poston, a city spokeswoman, said Adobe Drywall is a subcontractor of Brignall Construction, whom the city hired to do the work.
Officials at Brignall Construction could not immediately be reached for comment.
"We don't actually do the hiring of those particular companies," Poston said, referring to subcontractors. "We have the contractor to handle that."