Members of the Labor's International Union of America, Local 175 –— a carpenter's union — have been protesting on the public way outside Vicor Coporation at the intersection of Federal Street and River Road since Sept. 13.
Michael Gagliardi, Local 175's business manager, says Vicor Corporation is in violation of a 2019 Tax Increment Financing Agreement between the corporation – a manufacturer of modular power components – and the town by failing to hire any carpenters locally to work on a $33.5 million expansion at its local manufacturing facility.
The six-year TIF agreement officials at Vicor signed May 13, 2019, gives the company a $1.6 million dollar tax exemption. It was signed when the project began.
But Kerry Reddington, Vicor's director of legal services, says the corporation has complied with the TIF agreement because there is no provision in it that dictates the hiring practices of its third-party contractor, the Connolly Brothers.
“Vicor has complied, and will continue to comply, with the requirements of the TIF which addresses hiring of permanent employees by Vicor,” Reddington said. “The TIF does not include provisions related to the engagement of contractors or the subcontracting practices of any third party."
Gagliardi's complaint is that Vicor has outsourced a lot of its construction work to Connolly Brothers, a construction management firm based out of Beverly, which he says has been hiring workers from New Hampshire.
“It is critical that when a community is giving tax breaks that priority should be given to local residents who are paying taxes and living in that community to have an opportunity to work on the project,” Gagliardi said.
“What's interesting enough is that we are able to work on any project in Andover that doesn't have a TIF, but these people as a matter of corporate greed have decided to take the money that the town has given them, outsource it to the cheapest people that they can, with no consideration for the people that live in the town of Andover,” he added.
Among the company's obligations in the TIF agreement were to retain at least 771 full-time jobs in Andover and create at least 40 new full-time jobs at their Federal Street location.
In addition, the company is to “use reasonable efforts, including, but not limited to, cooperating with the Massachusetts Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development in order to identify and hire qualified residents from Andover or the Merrimack Valley to fill vacancies within the company for Andover-based jobs as they develop.”
Connolly Brothers President Jay Connolly says that while he will not comment on the TIF agreement because it's between Vicor and the town, his company has gone out of its way to try to hire subcontractors within a 50-mile radius of Beverly.
“With respect to hiring a local workforce, Connolly Brothers has been in business for 140 years and today 90% of our projects are located within a 50 miles of our headquarters in Beverly,” said Connolly. “In addition, 90% of our subcontractor base is within this same geographical area. In today’s global economy, you would be hard pressed to find any construction (or other) business more local than that.”