Unions Protest West OC Hiring

WEST OCEAN CITY — Protestors carrying large signs and handing out pamphlets and other literature sprouted up around a West Ocean City outlet center this week objecting to some new tenants using non-union contractors during construction.

Throughout mid-week, protestors set up shop at key access points near the Tanger Outlets in West Ocean City displaying large signs to passing motorists and pedestrians criticizing the use of non-union workers on build-outs and other construction projects currently undertaken by new tenants at the vast complex.

Yesterday, union protestors set up shop on the northwest corner of Route 50 and Golf Course Rd. near the Bank of Ocean City branch with a large banner that read “Shame on Coach for Lowering Area Standards in Our Community,” in response to the new Coach store in the Tanger Outlets currently in the midst of build-out. On Wednesday, similar signs were displayed targeting the new Chico’s outlet in the same shopping complex.

It is up to each individual store owner to pick and choose contractors and other providers for a variety of needs when opening a new store including carpenters, electricians, plumbers, sign companies, banks, Internet and cable providers and myriad of other services. In some cases, union workers are hired and in other cases they are not.

Tanger Outlets does provide a list of contractors and other service providers to new tenants through an extranet site as part of a welcome package. The lists typically include both union and non-union companies and the decision on who to hire is up to the discretion of the individual businesses and is often motivated by the low bid or other factors.

Tanger Outlets-West Ocean City Manager Renee Kelly said yesterday the protests are directed at the individual outlet store currently under construction and not at the outlet facility.

“Tanger Outlets is not involved in the hiring of contractors for our tenants,” she said. “This is strictly an issue between the contractor’s unions and the tenants currently under construction.”