Further delays for expansion project

Local union representative wants Queen’s to use unionized workers on Goodes project

The Goodes Hall construction project will now be completed by July 27.
The Goodes Hall construction project will now be completed by July 27.

Goodes Hall construction is now set to finish on July 27, marking two years of construction at the site.

The $40-million addition to Goodes Hall broke ground in July 2010 and the additional space will be used for classes.

Due to the delay, the current graduating class will not be able to take advantage of the new west wing.

The project was scheduled to be completed last December, in time for the 2012 winter term, but Vice-Principal of Finance and Administration Caroline Davis said this wasn’t feasible for a variety of reasons.

“The building’s complicated design required additional resources to co-ordinate the staged implementation of the activities required to erect the structure,” Davis told the Journal via email. “The intricate work of installing the tunnel under Union Street was further complicated by water, sewer and electrical considerations.”

The underground tunnel will join the Goodes Hall and Tindall Field parking lots.

Last July, construction of the 60-foot tunnel also encountered problems when workers found a deteriorating pipe.

The University had to attain City permits, including ones for tree placement and the foundation. This was a factor in why the construction process is past its deadline, Davis said.

If this past winter had seen a severe snowfall then the deadline could have been pushed back further.

“The work has been ongoing during the winter,” Davis wrote. “Some activities … were postponed periodically due to inclement weather. Work continued on the interior of the building during this time.”

She added that the project is on budget.

At this time workers need to finish the interior of the building as well as stonework, glazing and skylights on the exterior, she said.

Joe O’Shea, a Kingston representative of the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT), said Queen’s didn’t fairly decide on which workers to hire for the Goodes Hall project. Employees typically work 36 to 40 hours a week at the construction site.

O’Shea said the general contractor, which was hired by the University in a public tendering process, hired some sub-trade workers that aren’t unionized.

Sub-trade workers, such as painters, conduct certain tasks as dictated by the general contractor. O’Shea contacted University officials and had a meeting scheduled with the Associate Vice-Principal of Facilities Ann Browne for Thursday.

“I’m not sure if anything will change. Hopefully in the future they’ll look at where they’re getting their work from,” O’Shea said.

“I would hope that Queen’s would change their policy when it comes to hiring general contractors.”

Davis responded to O’Shea’s request saying the University’s hiring process is fair and transparent.

“The general contractor hires sub-trades as required,” Davis said. “Queen’s is not signatory to the unions, our obligation is to obtain fair and competitive bids without prejudice.” Mykola Neustroyev is a glass sub-contractor who is currently working on site at Goodes Hall.

He said he’s not part of a union.

“I was hired by a sub-contractor in Toronto,” Neustroyev said. “I’d say about half of the workers [are unionized].”

He said he has about two to three months of work left to install glass in the building. In regards to the entire project, he said, there’s still a fair amount to do.

“There’s lots to do. We’re just three quarters done the last floor,” he said.

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