Workers protest construction company over low wages in Federal Way

Company says the workers’ reasoning behind the protests is incorrect.

Along South 312th Street across from Sam’s Market, residents will be seeing peaceful protesters holding up a sign that says “Shame on Xiaoping Zhu.”

The protest is the result of upset from the Pacific Northwest Regional Council of Carpenters (PNRCC) after finding out Metier Construction Inc., a Washington-based construction company, is allegedly paying their carpentry workers lower-than-standard wages for this industry.

Pedro Espinosa, a member of PNRCC, says they have no problems with the company itself, just the less than fair wages workers are being paid.

The workers are being paid anywhere from $18-$28 an hour, with very little benefits, Espinosa said. And even then, any benefits they get are solely for them. If they want to add on family members, Espinosa said, that’s more money coming out of the carpenter’s paychecks, further diminshing their already lower-than-average pay.

“We believe that we need to protect our way of living,” he said.

Espinosa said they just want Metier to pay their workers fair wages, and if they can prove they are increasing the compensation rates, they will cease their protests.

“All we want to do is just let the community know what’s going on,” Espinosa said.

A representative from Metier Construction, Inc. said that while they respect PNRCC and their right to peaceful protests, their reasoning behind the protests is incorrect.

“We offer all benefits, we have medical, dental, vision, and 95 percent of that is paid by the employer, by us,” the representative said.

They pay their carpenters anywhere from $20-$30 or more, depending on their experience, the rep said.

“What they’re saying, it’s simply not true,” she said.