- Associated Press - Wednesday, December 16, 2015

DAVENPORT, Iowa (AP) - Organized labor leaders in the Quad-cities say they are worried a Kentucky-based construction company will not give union workers a fair shot at jobs building a $200 million Kraft Heinz plant.

Union leaders said Tuesday that local contractors are not being fairly considered for the plant in the Eastern Iowa Industrial Center. Gray Construction has been seeking local bids for the project.

The Quad-City Times (http://bit.ly/1O8q2go ) reports that Tri-City Building Trades and Construction Council executive director Rory Washburn says the company has not been responsive to his inquiries about the matter.

Washburn said he was encouraged last month when he heard that a Wisconsin-based builder known to local firms might be involved in the construction of the new plant. He said that company bowed out Friday.

Gray Construction began seeking bids and local firms are only being given a week to 10 days to respond, which Washburn called insufficient time for such a large project. The director said that “a few” contractors have been able to submit bids, but most have not.

Gray Construction spokeswoman Jill Wilson says they have received “numerous” bids from union and non-union firms.

“It’s always been a part of our DNA that when we go into any community that we work in, that we work and engage as many local subs and vendors as we can” as long as they’re qualified, said Wilson.

Kraft Heinz announced last month that it would build a new facility, committing to hiring only 475 people.

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Information from: Quad-City Times, http://www.qctimes.com

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