Union says labor dispute could end today


A labor dispute that caused six painters to walk picket lines at two Columbia office buildings over the past week may end today, a union representative says.

Workers in the local International Brotherhood of Painters Inc. union were seeking a 40-cent increase in the hourly wages paid by 20 contractors. But L. A. Mangum and Son Inc. of Landover refused to sign the three-year agreement when the other companies did.

The refusal spurred the weeklong protest outside two of his job sites, the American City Building and the Amdahl building on Little Patuxent Parkway, organizers said. Some protesters lost pay to walk the picket lines from 6:30 a.m. to noon.

Company President L. A. Mangum has been a union contractor for 32 years, but initially refused to sign the May 15 agreement.

"They're putting a little pressure on us, and we're in negotiations now," he said yesterday. "It's nothing serious. We'll work it out."

He is expected to sign the agreement by noon today, said Tony St. John, secretary and treasurer of the union's District Council 51, which includes the Washington and Baltimore areas.

"He's going back to the house he was trying to run away from," Mr. St. George said yesterday. "It looks like he's coming back to us."

Protesters said it was essential that each of the contractors signed the new agreement.

"If you don't have contractors, you don't have jobs," said Bobby Moore, 31, a painter for 13 years, who was carrying a sign in front of the Amdahl building.

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