"It doesn't have to be a fight for everything. Safety shouldn't be a fight. Safety should be a first priority," Jeff George, an industrial painter at the Wendt Corporation said.
George along with dozens of other members of the Ironworkers Union of Buffalo, held a rally in front of the Irish Center to advocate for a safer workplace. They argued that the Wendt Corporation, a scrap metal recycling company, has unsafe work conditions.
"In the past three to four years, we've had 30-40 ergonomic injuries on the job," George said.
Along with a dangerous work environment union members also called for more consistent job contracts.
"They keep hiring temps. They take our jobs," Dennis Busch, a welder with Wendt Corporation, said.
While the union is calling for a safer work environment and more job safety, the the lawyer representing the Wendt Corporation said it already provides that.
"We are 20 percent below the industry standard for work place incidents," Ginger Schroder, the attorney for the Wendt Corporation, said.
She added that the temporary jobs are regular part of the industry. Schroder said that people are hired as jobs come in. Plus, if a customer is far away Wendt will sub-contract the work, which means it hires people closer to the customer to make the product.
A new contract was given to the union on May 8th but it refused. The union said that it didn't meet all the specifications it wanted. Schroder said that it adequately satisfied their concerns while Wendt maintained its competitive edge in the marketplace. She also said significant salary raises were included.
"Like an incredible wage increase to every classification in the organization," Schroder said.
The union has also charged the Wendt corporation with multiple unfair labor practices violations. The trial is on September 10th. However, Schroder said that the trial won't close for at least 8-9 years. So the effects of the trial, if the Wendt Corporation is found guilty, won't be felt until almost a decade later.