Residents who have driven past the high school for the past several days may have noticed an inflatable 'rat' that has been erected on the side of the street. This is a common protest that appears at work sites when union labor is not awarded 'lowest responsible bidder' contracts. You might have also noticed a similar situation in front of Mather Hospital in Port Jefferson over the past several weeks. 

 The fact is that the school district, as a public entity, is required to award construction contracts to the lowest responsible bidder. These bidders do not have to utilize union labor; however, they must pay the 'prevailing wage' in accordance with the law. In other words, they have to pay the same labor rate to their non-union employees as a union shop would. These are state laws; the district has no discretion to award a union contract if it is not the lowest responsible bid.

 In this case, the asbestos abatement work that is being done on a job at the high school was awarded to a non-union company in full conformance with state bidding requirements, safety requirements and labor laws. There is nothing improper, dangerous, or inappropriate about this work, despite the union 'rat' protest. We regret the confusion that this may have created.