Union members protest at Cornerstone project in DeKalb

Painters union employees assemble in front of Cornerstone over labor dispute

A giant balloon rat and a sign that reads "Pappas shame, shame, shame" sits outside the Cornerstone development at First Street and Lincoln Highway Wednesday, protesting the use of nonunion workers hired to paint the interior of the building. The protest was initiated by Painters District Council No. 30, Local 97.[]

DeKALB –Members of the Painters District Council 30, Local 97, stood outside the Cornerstone DeKalb project Wednesday to dispute the hiring of nonunion painters.

Mark Guethle stood in front of an inflatable rat, which has become synonymous with union protests, with a sign that read “Shame, shame, shame on [developer John] Pappas.”

“We’re just informing the public and trying to save the middle class,” Guethle said.

Guethle said that as far as he knew, these were the only nonunion employees working on the building.

The $7.5 million Cornerstone project, which was approved by the DeKalb City Council last year with a $3 million tax increment financing contribution, will feature 51 fully-furnished apartments on the top three floors. Barb City Bagels will relocate to the commercial space on the first floor along with a bar and restaurant.

A second development by Pappas, Plaza DeKalb, is in the works on the corner of East Lincoln Highway and Second Street. This
$6 million project was made possible through the allocation of $1.9 million in TIF funds and will include 21 apartments, a Mediterranean-themed grocery store and a bar and restaurant.

The building’s construction required the demolition of most of the Diamond Tour Golf building on 203 E. Lincoln Highway. Demolition of a second building at 209 E. Lincoln Highway will not be necessary, DeKalb Economic Development Planner Jason Michnick said.

The building is expected to open July 31, according to the Cornerstone DeKalb website.