Union attempts to strong arm Meathead Movers

November 23, 2009
Aaron Steed

Aaron Steed

By KAREN VELIE

Since a local general contractor refused to hire a union company to install drywall at the future San Luis Obispo home of Meathead Movers, the tactics and aggressive antics of the rejected bidder’s union have reached a level that caused workers at the job site to call the police.

In October, two of the construction workers asked representatives of the Union Brotherhood of Contactors (UBC) Local 150 to leave their property because of alleged bullying. When their refusal to leave led to a heated argument that included foul language, a worker called the San Luis Obispo Police Department for assistance.

Hired by a group of businessmen that include Aaron and Evan Steed, the owners of Meathead Movers, the general contractor rejected the bid by an out-of-area union sub-contractor. That bid was almost double the amount of bids submitted by other contractors.

And even though Meathead Movers is a tenant and not an owner of Central Coast Mini Storage, where the disputes have taken place, the picketers are handing out flyers that say, “Shame on Meathead Movers for desecration of the American way of life.”

“The idea is to do enough harm to the business to make the business owner try to persuade the land owner to hire their workers,” Meathead Mover co-owner Evan Steed said. “People think our employees are picketing. This is misleading and extortion.”

Added Aaron Steed, “If we had to build this project at 43 percent more, this project would not be happening. This Southern California union is trying to extort Meathead Movers.”

Meathead Movers employs more than 160 people and is expecting to hire more employees after work on the new offices and storage area is completed (eight months).

“We take a lot of pride in that (putting people to work),” Aaron Steed said. “We are taking a risk trying to grow during a bad time.”

According to the union’s flyer, which displays a large rat gnawing on the American flag, Rarig Construction is a rat who does not pay its workers’ health care or pension benefits. Although the marchers appear to be unemployed union laborers, those holding signs as they march in front of the future home of Meathead Movers are paid picketers.

While Rarig Construction provides their employees with health benefits and a 401 K retirement plan, the union pays their picketers an hourly wage but does not offer them any health care or retirement benefits.

Newspaper articles have reported that UBC generally pays picketers $8 per hour. Union representatives said they hire non-union workers to picket, though they would not divulge what they pay them.

The Camarillo-based Local 150 hires the homeless, the unemployed and the retired to promote its message. Three picketers walk the line from about 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday on the corner of Higuera Street and Hind Lane in San Luis Obispo.

“They go down to the Salvation Army and pick up people,” said Steve Weiner, secretary-treasurer of the Tri-County Building and Trade Council, AFL-CIO. “We don’t approve because it affects the other business trades and makes (legitimate union workers) look bad.”

Local 150 is not affiliated with the AFL-CIO, Weiner said.


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BigScurv

I must say that both Aaron and Evan are strong Obama supporters (see facebook page). You can’t have it both ways boys. You want the benefits of a free market to successfully run your business, yet you supported the biggest road block to Capitalism in the history of our country. I think it’s funny and ironic that this “union” is giving you trouble.


zaphod

Obama is the leader of a really big Union dude, you are probably a member, better check your facebook page ;-D


smartypants

When Meathead was fairly young they took me for a pretty good ride on moving fees. Promised a refund that I never got.


bobfromsanluis

I have never done business with Meathead Movers, and I was a union employee for over thirty years; what this union is doing is flat wrong, period. Many unions have had multiple problems over the years with corruption, that is for sure; but to denigrate all unions based on this one sorry example does no one any good, unless it makes you happy to crap all over working men and women. The true fact about unions and what they have provided over the years cannot be illustrated by the examples provided here, either the jist of this article, or the lame link provided by booty juice to a right wing crank. I will not argue that some of the unions that the government workers belong to have become too strong, but, once again, these two examples are not the norm for what unions can provide. I think that Meathead Movers should buy their own banner and refute the banner that this rogue union has attempted to slander them with. If anyone wants to continue to bash unions just because they think it is the right thing to do, please remember that over the past thirty years when most every corporation has had many leaps and bounds in profitability, while CEOs have seen their salaries increase 200 to 2000 percent (or more), the average salary for most workers have not even kept pace with inflation, so in reality, most workers have less buying power, and most families have to be two income families. The action of this one union disgusts me, period, and all though Meathead Movers may have their detractors, they do not deserve this slander.


SensitiveGuy
moderator

religion/political remark removed


Booty JuJu

Think unions aren’t sh*tting in your face and bankrupting the entire state? Think again.


http://www.city-journal.org/2009/eon1123sg.html


They openly laugh.


DeepBlueSLO

In many ways I feel for the Meatheads. It would truly suck to have your business picketed due to the refusal to accept a bid and I will definitely not be using any contractor from UBC Local 150 – ever. What is this, New Jersey?


On the other hand, I used the Meatheads back in 2007, and vowed to never use them again because of a pricing dispute. I suppose what goes around comes around.


Booty JuJu

Moving your sh*t from point A to point B is a wholly price-dependant activity unless the cuteness factor blows your skirt up. I’d use Chinese slave labor if it saved a buck, as would their 25 million political prisoners were they not chained to a metal cot with car batteries attached to their gnads.


cheseburger

Come on now booty, it’s the Chese, we can’t go there, I am going to redeem you as a proficient and competent writer! I know you are angry like me, but, to create a good ending to this nightmare, we need to stick it out together, I have faith in you! You have so many good points do not let them categorize you! Bootyjuice some of us can completely relate to your rants.


beloved one

I used Meathead Movers to move twice within San Luis and then once more to move to Orange County. All three times, the not-to-exceed price that I received from them during the estimate was higher than the other bids. However, the first time I chose them because they are licensed, insured, and they have trained employees and weren’t using underpaid immigrant day labor like the other movers in town. The next two times, I went with them because of my initial experience: the movers are polite, cute, well-trained, careful, and fast. And because the guys ran when going back to the truck to get more of my stuff, the bill at the end of the day was lower than I expected. And even if the bill was the same as the top range of the estimate, I am one of those who beleives you get what you pay for (like shopping at Nordstrom vs. Big Lots). I never experienced the moving nightmares that you hear about from friends and on 20/20.

Throughout all three moves, I was blown away by the professionalism of every single employee at this impressive local company. The owner himself did two of my estimates, and I almost wonder if MccDave really got an estimate, because the process was professional, polite, and thorough. Nothing overly salesy.

It is ridiculous that even two young guys working hard and employing dozens of other young men and women are being attacked when they are paying for a project that is putting dozens more people in the building trades to work in a recession. AND, as many others here have mentioned, the picketers aren’t even union! Too ironic.


racket

Glad to hear all that.


But we are losing to the union-skrotes by making this conversation at all about Meathead. This conversation needs to remain on how underhanded/lazy/conniving/inappropriate the union is. If you let them change the conversation to smearing/defending the victims of union bullying, then the union has already won.


Smacks Forehead

“union-skrotes” – lol.


Booty JuJu

This kind of union brown shirt goose stepping goes on all the time in LA. Nothing new there. I’ve had Meathead quote three jobs for me in the last twelve years, and they were triple the other bidders each time. They are complaining about gouging? The ironing is sweet.


racket

Ironing the brown shirts?


kellygirl

“The ironing is sweet”???????? What laundry are you using??????


Booty JuJu

Morons,

“The ironing is sweet” is a well worn Homer Simpsonism as obvious as open sores on a north county newlywed. Do try to remember that not everyone is as stupid as you are.


fat chance

I was a union member for years….all they ever wanted was my dues. Unions have become totally useless!!


zaphod

I was a union member for years, I had full medical,dental, vacation, sick time ; for about thirty five dollars a month.