Protestors line entrance of Isle of Capri construction site

Rita LeBleu

Men in neon-colored T-shirts lined up outside the Isle of Capri construction site Thursday morning to protest the lack of local workers being used for projects at the Westlake casino.l

“We’re here because there is work going on inside from a company that bid the work and then brought in people from out of the area to work,” said David G. Hyatt, president of Southwest Louisiana Buildings and Construction Trades Council. “A lot of people around here suffered storm damage and lost their jobs because of that and COVID. We need local jobs for local people.”

The group did not impede traffic. Nor were they there to stop the work.

“It’s a friendly protest,” Hyatt said. “We called law enforcement and asked them to come to demonstrate our desire to keep it that way.”

A couple of signs read, “Don’t Feed the Rats.” Hyatt said the term is slang used to denote persons who are satisfied with the crumbs.

“There is no disagreement about anything because we haven’t talked,” said Richard Paulk. “They haven’t even contacted us. We want to talk. We’re here.”

Paulk said hundreds of local skilled workers and their families have to go to other states to find work.

“Why is that? I’m fed up. They would love to come home,” he said. “They love Southwest Louisiana.”

Paulk said local contractors would love to bid on these projects and can’t. He is a native of Westlake where the new Isle of Capri is being constructed.

The Isle of Capri general contractor is not leveling the playing field for local people to go to work, according to Hyatt, a heavy equipment operator by trade.

“It’s not just the hourly wage,” Hyatt said. “It’s the benefits, the health insurance. With us, we come with a total package, medical, dental.”

This makes it possible for construction workers who may work at more than one jobsite in a year – and most do – to retain coverage during a layoff or after a job is completed. Hyatt said the Isle of Capri general contractor may provide a coverage plan, but the full premium cost is deducted from the employees’ wages.

“Wages can be negotiated up or down depending on what the work is, if the company really wants to work with the locals in the area,” Hyatt said. “That can be negotiated so the local people can keep their healthcare coverage and the provisions they need to provide for their families.”

“This isn’t going to be the first picket line you see. It’s not just here. It’s going on at all these sites around here,” said Jonathan Waddell, drawing a wide arc with his arm. “In the parking lots of all this industry, the new LNGs, you see more out of state plates than Louisiana plates.”

“Local, skilled labor built The Golden Nugget, L’Auberge, the old Isle of Capri and Players Island,” Paulk said. “Something went wrong here. I don’t know what. I would like to know.”

The American Press left messages asking for comments from LeMoine Commercial Contractor, Ryan Gootee General Contractors and Senior Vice President and General Manager, Isle of Capri (Caesars Entertainment), and did not receive a response.

 
 
 
 
 
 

””

The Isle of Capri general contractor is not leveling the playing field for local people to go to work, according to David G. Hyatt, president of Southwest Louisiana Buildings and Construction Trades Council and a heavy equipment operator by trade.

Rita LeBleu

SportsPlus

Crime

7/17: Calcasieu Parish Sheriff announces arrest list

McNeese Sports

Fixer Upper

life

Library invites feedback on resident needs, library priorities

Local News

Speaker Johnson: ‘We will make American safe again’

life

PHOTO GALLERY: Summer Culinary Camp

Local News

Parlez-vous francais? French table group meets to practice their French-speaking skills

life

Exchange project allows teenagers to visit different states for free

Jim Beam

Jim Beam column: Assassination turmoil averted

Local News

Candidates begin qualifying for November election today

Business

UPDATE: Tower implosion will take less than 30 seconds

Business News

Capital One Tower to come down in September

Crime

Alleged gunman in gang-related shooting arrested

life

Perfect Friday weather claim might not be so perfect in SW La.

Crime

7/16: Calcasieu Parish Sheriff announces arrest list

Local News

In beachy Galveston, locals buckle down without power after Beryl’s blow during peak tourist season

Local News

Westlake Council: Golf carts on city roads not legal yet

Local News

Republican convention focuses on immigration a day after a bandaged Trump makes triumphant entrance

Local News

Vance is a relative political unknown. He’s been asked to help Trump avenge his 2020 loss

Crime

Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office unhindered by crime lab backlog

Local News

First Titanic voyage in 14 years is happening in the wake of submersible tragedy

Local News

Kennedy, Judiciary Republicans demand Durbin hold hearing on Trump assassination attempt

Local News

Open house set for Enterprise Boulevard Extension Project

Crime

7/15: Calcasieu Parish Sheriff announces arrest list

Local News

Trump announces Vance as vice president pick