Why would a union set up the inflatable rat in front of a work site where 99 percent of the $3 million project was going to be completed by union workers?
Why would a local activist and political candidate post a picture of the rat on Facebook without asking the notable entity having the construction done what it had done to attract the union's ire?
Why doesn't it register that Good Shepherd Lutheran, which suffered an awful fire last September and is trying to rebuild in time for Christmas, is one of Oak Park's most intentionally progressive religious institutions?
We suppose the answer to our questions is that it is simpler to seek out the negative response, and the social media chatter that public shaming attempts can bring, than to actually explore a reality that is fully affirming of the values we generally espouse as Oak Parkers.
By the time the reporting caught up with the click rush late last week, Kathy Nolte, the 10-year pastor of Good Shepherd and a hands-on activist who can hold her own with the best of them, was telling the Journal that her congregation had proactively, and much earlier, chosen to use union workers on their rebuilding project. The snafu was a last-minute need for asbestos removal and the church's inability to find a union vendor who could complete the work by July 1.
So a $20,000 contract was made with a non-union shop as part of a better than $3 million union-made rebuild of the East Avenue church's interior.
The rat-toting union, Laborers' International Union of North America Local 225, needs to seriously reassess its public-shaming tactics and its fact-gathering skills. And Anthony Clark, the activist and candidate for Congress who launched the stir on social media, should have used his phone first to understand the truth of this situation. Saying that he "didn't attack the church or say the church was wrong" by his posting is disingenuous.
We are admirers of Anthony Clark. But telling the Journal, "I'm not in this community to make friends," undermines the necessity of making allies and the good faith of trying hard to be fair.
Answer Book 2019
To view the full print edition of the Wednesday Journal 2019 Answer Book, please click here.
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