The Lone Sun Blog
The latest updates on the assault from the Carpenters Local 1319

Help Out a Good Man, If You Can…

The following post was taken from an email dated November 6, 2009 that was sent by MaryEllen Karnas, Chet’s wife.  We have decided to publish this email in hopes that it will offer a greater understanding of Lone Sun Builders.  Also, the email provides another perspective of the recent assaults to Lone Sun Builders.

Let me preface this e-mail by saying this may seem like a strange request for support, but here it is:

Many of you may know my husband, Chet, who is a long-time community member, business owner, coach, and supporter of North Valley schools, athletics & community programs through both financial sponsorship and personal volunteerism.

Chet is the president of Lone Sun Builders, a local contracting company.  Lone Sun Builders began as a grass-roots company, basically “two guys & a pick-up truck” and has grown to be one of the most highly regarded framing and drywall subcontractors in the state.

His company is run very much like an extended family business, in which employees are well taken care…both on the books and off.  Lone Sun has one of the best benefits programs amongst local contractors, including medical and dental insurance (90% paid by the business), life insurance, and even a 401(k) plan, which is almost unheard of for employees that are mostly comprised of tradesmen and laborers*.  Off the books, Lone Sun Builders, or my husband personally has often climbed way out on a limb in terms of physically or financially assisting employees in need.

Chet’s company is a non-union one, because the employees have no need for union protection.  They are treated more than fairly, do not want to be organized, and are fiercely loyal to their employer.

However, because Lone Sun is a stalwart among contractors, they are periodically pursued by various trade unions that would like to organize the company and collect dues from its many employees.  In an effort to make this happen, union representatives, specifically those from the carpenters’ union, organize protests against the company at various jobs they are working around town.

These union protests are based on lies, and often include chants and flyers that claim Lone Sun has NO benefits program; that they underpay employees; that they pay cash to employees, etc.  Further, the protests are designed to intimidate owners, employees, and customers associated with whatever business Lone Sun is  working for, and to discourage general contractors and owners from hiring my husband’s company, knowing they may be faced with such ugly and aggressive picketing, which could then have a negative impact on their own businesses.  In short, if Chet’s company doesn’t wish to organize, then the union will do whatever it can to destroy it.

Most recently, the Carpenter’s Union is in OUR neighborhood, just across 4th Street at the old Applebees’s, up to their usual tricks.  I AM a union member myself, and I believe in the ideals upon which unions were founded, but in this case, the union has completely lost sight of their mission.  Lone Sun Builders should be considered a case of “mission accomplished” as far as the union is concerned…they have no need to be unionized, because the business ONLY engages in fair employment practices.  Period.  Yet rather than go after real “rat” outfits (which do indeed exist) the union continues to target a business which operates on honor and integrity, and also continues to utilize unethical, intimidating, and often downright thuggish organization tactics.

I am asking several things of you here, my friends.

  • First, in the future on your way in or out of work, or as you walk at lunch, if you see union protesters (or Lone Sun counter-protesters) at the old Applebees site, swing by and give a shout-out of support for Chet and his business.
  • Second, if you see these protests at other businesses around town, please do the same…some likely protest spots are Il Vicino, Health South, La Posada Hotel downtown, the new Sadie’s on Eubank, and the Franciscan Hotel in Santa Fe.
  • Finally, if you know of other folks that might offer similar support, or even be willing to help hold up a banner for a while, forward this e-mail to them.

Chet could really use support from the community that he has loved and supported himself so often over the years.  It would mean so much to him, and to me as well.

Thank you for taking the time to read this and for considering our ongoing dilemma.

UNION YES! (But only if it is needed and wanted).

LIES & INTIMIDATION, NO!

Sincerely,

MaryEllen

* Lone Sun Builders actually pays 92% of the medical and dental insurance.  Further, benefits also include a health reimbursement account, and a pension plan for employees working on public works projects.

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4 Responses to “Help Out a Good Man, If You Can…”

  1. Chet and Mary Ellen,
    I have been following this issue for a while now from the newspapers, your e-mails and from my son Joseph going to the ASA meetings.
    I think it is the height of hypocrisy for the carpenter’s union to be doing what they are doing in our state. From my office I can look across I-25 and see the new carpenter’s union hall and training center being constructed by an out of state contractor who has no interest in the good of the state of New Mexico.
    I think we should all protest that site to show their hypocrisy and the dishonor they show to our state as well as our dissatisfaction with their choice of an out of state contractor.
    The only other thing I can add is that the people who know you know what you are really like and know what type of honorable company you actually run.
    Thanks for listening.
    Good luck!!!
    John Menicucci
    Berger Briggs Real Estate and Insurance Inc.

  2. I assume that New Mexico is a “right to work” state. Here the argument is so plain. What could be more fundamental than the freedom to associate with other men and women, or not to associate, as each man and women’s conscience and reason dictates? If the employees of a company choose not to unionize then that is their freedom of choice not to do so.

  3. Chet, MaryAnn … I SUPPORT YOU AND YOUR COMPANY. But more importantly, I support the businesses these picketers are out picketing in from of. I PURPOSELY go each lunch at Il Vicino. I PURPOSELY went in and bought a chair at LazyBoy. I PURPOSELY went into the Unser Museum …. JUST TO PISS THESE UNION THUGS OFF. What they are doing is pure intimidation … which is what unions do best.

  4. A couple days ago my family and I ate out at “Il Vicino’s”. Yesterday my husband came home and asked me if I knew why the restaurant we ate at was being picketed. I didn’t know, but I wanted to find out because I want to be a conscious consumer as much as possible. In reading your blog and getting a clear picture of what is going on, we are definitely behind the Lone Sun Builders. We will also continue to eat at “Il Vicino’s” (maybe even more now) because of their support of Lone Sun.


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