Post Brothers vs. Unions–Again–Now With Creepy Allegations and Lawn Signs

A few days ago, Matthew Pestronk, one of the two principals of the development company Post Brothers, called to tell us that almost every day there are men with videocameras outside of  Rittenhouse Hill, one of the Post Brothers’ many developments. He claimed the men are members of IBEW Local 98, the electricians’ union. “They’re taping female residents coming in and out of our properties and making them very uncomfortable,” he said. “What does that have to do with anything?”

When Pestronk said, “with anything,” he was referring to the fight the Post Brothers and dozens of the city’s unions are engaged in over the company’s decision to employ non-union labor on their projects. The antagonism sparked at the Goldtex apartment building site at 12th and Wood, which became the locus of an ugly battle that got extensive media coverage due to the unions’ especially aggressive tactics. Now that the bulk of the construction on the Goldtex building has ended, the unions have descended on the Post Brothers’ other properties, such as Presidential City Apartments and Rittenhouse Hill.

In order to substantiate his claim yesterday, Pestronk sent us four photos of people he said were Local 98 members using videocameras to film residents as they entered and left the buildingWe called Local 98′s headquarters to speak with its president, John Dougherty, and had our call returned by Frank Keel. We asked Keel to verify there was a protest going on at Rittenhouse Hill, which he did: “IBEW Local 98 is protesting that apartment project. We are in the process of putting up lawn signs, which is our right. The signs are put up every morning and taken down at the end of the day.”

We asked what the Local’s complaint is with Rittenhouse Hill. “The complaint,” said Keel, “is that Post Brothers, with the use of unqualified workers, are basically cheating the system and not paying the established wages and standards for this region.”

Were the men videotaping residents Local 98 members? “That I couldn’t answer,” Keel said. “I don’t know if that’s our guys. That doesn’t sound like something our guys would do.” But he agreed to look at the photos to check.

8-9-13(2)-1 8-9-13-1 8-9-13 Rittenhouse street-1

Shortly after examining them, Keel sent this official response via email:

Our members ran video cameras for one day and one day only at the Rittenhouse site. The purpose was to film as many of the Post Brothers’ construction workers as possible in an attempt to identify which worker had been stealing our legal and lawfully placed signs. It’s not the first time they’ve stolen our signs. Everything the Post Brothers are alleging here is a lie meant to divert attention from their shoddy operation and unsafe construction practices. Check their L & I and OSHA violations if you doubt us.

And so it goes on, the pitched battle between the two entities, each moment–to paraphrase Thoreau–like an eternity.

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  • Bill

    Unions gotta go.. They are a bunch of selfish thugs.

  • Robert Fouracre

    I guess that’s another freedom the Obama Administration is taking away from America. The freedom of choice.

  • Rockstarry

    Working in a Post Brother property is an annoyance on many levels. The restrooms remain under-stocked with the necessary supplies–all the time. Our complaints are frequently ignored. I just hope this winter isn’t as bad here as it was last year. For most of it, we were without heat, hot water and had to put up with loud noises and dust from the construction crew working onsite.

  • scorpgal

    I just rode past the Presidential signs on the bus today. Yes, I suppose it got my attention enough for me to Google it, but really? Why couldn’t the signs say, “Please support using union labor”, or something more positive like that? I support unions, but I think the “Don’t rent here” signs are very unfair to the people who live there, as is the possibility that residents are being videotaped in conjunction with this matter.

    I once had a friend whose family had to move to that building after their house burned down, and I can’t help thinking how horrible it would be if they had to come home to signs like that, after all they had already been through. I support unions in general, but I will not support this union until they stop subjecting residents to this public humiliation. Ever hear of a lease? Those residents can’t show their support for unions by simply moving out, the way that a person can decide not to buy a product at a store. The residents are stuck there for their lease term. They deserve their dignity.

  • Rey

    Unions suck, they should all go to hell. Unions are for lazy people and everyone should be able to hire non union employees on their properties and get rid of them if they unionize.

  • Andre

    Post brothers is a horrible company and will do anything to lie about their unlawful practices. They are racist and unprofessional people that throw their money at peoples to keep them calm. They specifically tell their employees not to let many blacks into the building as residents to keep the building “clean” and yo uphold it’s reputation because they are already in a black neighborhood. The vp is black and she keeps post brothers from getting into racial laesuits, which is the only reason why they employed her and gave her a high position.