The New York City District Council of Carpenters is not looking to rain on anyone’s wedding day, only to alert shoppers and business people of the off-white contracting and construction practices of the Vera Wang Group at their 15 East 26th Street office building.
Eddie McWilliams, council representative of the Organizer and Director of NYC District Council of Carpenters, recently sent an email to William Mitchell, C.O.O. of Vera Wang Group, outlining concerns about the Vera Wang Group’s hiring of Michilli Construction to work on the project, a contracting company that has a reputation of not offering workers full pay, health benefits, or pensions. McWilliams has initiated several protests of Vera Wang, including banners, distribution of handbills, and an unflattering inflatable rat, fittingly donning a bridal veil.
“It’s not a union/non-union issue,” the council representative told The Observer. “It’s the fact that [Michilli] has lowered the bar of acceptability. It’s a race to the bottom.”
McWilliams likens the business practices of Michilli to piece-work done in sweatshops or slave labor. He stresses that the goal of the protests, emails, and letters is to illustrate that such business practices will not be tolerated and will not go unnoticed, hoping to bring accountability to contractors such as Michilli and clients like Vera Wang Group.
The protection of area standards is paramount and the employment of irresponsible contracting companies ends up costing the taxpayers more than it does the construction companies.
“In the end, the city pays for the workers when they’re hurt and don’t have insurance as offered through area standard wages,” said McWilliams.
Mitchell refused to comment. Michilli could not be reached.