(WICHITA, Kan.) — Pass by the west YMCA on Central and it might catch your eye.
A sign reading "Shame on YMCA" and "Labor Dispute" is only the beginning. The paid protesters who man the sign hand out flyers bashing the "Y" for "Desecration of the American way of life."
The Carpenters Local 201 is behind the rhetoric. The union is angry about the business practices of a subcontractor hired to work on the downtown YMCA expansion.
In the flyer, the union accuses Drywall Systems Incorporated of being a "rat" and not paying all its employees "area standard wages" and full family health benefits.
"It's an attack on the non-union shops in the Wichita area," said Larry Higgins, president of Drywall Systems Inc. "This is not just focused on me. It is actually focused on several other shops. They (union) of course picked on mine because the YMCA is a high profile job."
When he first started Drywall Systems in 1988 Higgins wasn't able to offer any benefits to workers. Now he does.