Labor union rat

The sign of a labor union dispute appeared this week on Main Street in Salem, New Hampshire.

SALEM, N.H. — Protestors have had a steady presence this week outside ADEP, a demolition and remediation company at 300 Main St.

A giant inflatable rat widely recognized as a sign of labor disputes has accompanied the group of eight men with Building Wreckers Local 1421.

According to Chuck, a union representative who did not want to be identified publicly by his last name, the group has started each day demonstrating at an ADEP job site in Lawrence before setting up at the Salem, N.H. administrative location.

The demolition industry union is the last of its kind locally, and wants to recruit ADEP employees, Chuck said. He cited ADEP wages a third of the union’s $64 per hour average.

“It’s not a strike, we’re not picketing,” he said. “This is just informational. We want to let the community know what’s going on, that this company could be better.”

ADEP office manager Damian Mejia looked out at the protestors Friday confused by their aim.

“We’re a non-union, minority-owned company,” Mejia said. “We can’t even afford to join their union. It’s a lot of money up front.”

He said union members have yelled threats at the building — where glass on the front door has since been covered with paper for privacy — about getting the business shut down.

Police were called to the spot just before noon Thursday after a report that protestors were blocking the company’s driveway, a log item explains.

“The FedEx truck couldn’t get in to deliver our checks. We almost couldn’t pay the 40 people out of the building because they were in the way,” Mejia said.

ADEP is advertised on its website as a local demolition and remediation group specializing in interior and structural demolition, as well as asbestos abatement.

There are said to be 250 employees who service New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Vermont, Maine and New York.

The company’s portfolio mentions 370 Essex St. in Lawrence, where ADEP was responsible for completing the interior demolition and asbestos abatement of one of the city’s oldest commercial buildings.

Mejia added that the company’s non-union status is a draw for some workers who want to be on job sites year-round. Union members in the industry, according to Mejia, typically work seasonally.

Protesters said there is no known end date to their local activity.

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