Several members of a Philadelphia union have been protesting on Old Lincoln Highway near Lincoln Plaza in Fairless Hills this week to secure higher wages and benefits. Four men from the glazing industry stood in front of “Scrappy the Rat” Wednesday morning as they petitioned Malvern Glass, Inc.
“Low wages,” Protest Captain John Dzierzynski told WBCB when asked why they were out there. “Wages and benefits. We want people to pay the prevailing rate that’s been in this neighborhood for years and years, that’s the reason we’re out here today.”
Dzierzynski is a member of District Council 21 of Philadelphia, a union dedicated to glaziers, painters, wallcoverers, and drywall finishers. It covers the Philadelphia region, along with other parts of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware.
The men reported they had been protesting for about a week and a half. But they had not seen any major results.
“We’ve had people out to support us,” Dzierzynski explained. “That’s about it, just support. We’re trying to bring the prevailing rate back to this area again. Some of these guys are being paid 1980 wages for working five clicks away from 2020. It is an issue with the building trades, so we’re strictly here for wages and benefits.”
Each of the members standing in the sweltering heat had towels around their necks and baseball caps on their heads. But they also wore signs explicitly stating their cause.
“We are picketing because Malvern Glass does not pay area wages and benefits,” the signs read. The signs also noted an affiliation with the AFL-CIO. “We protest this destruction of our area standards.”
And as for the giant rat looming behind them? That’s Scrappy the Rat. It was developed in 1990 by a Chicago bricklayers union to convey their message of dissatisfaction with the status quo.
People driving by the area this week will likely see the men in their protests.