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Negotiations between a University Museum contractor and unionized plasterers -- who want their rank and file to be exclusively employed -- reached a stalemate yesterday. The protestors from Plasterers Union Local Eight said yesterday they will continue to picket in front of the Museum until contractor Sean Conlon agrees to subcontract the plastering work only to union members. "I have offered to take along two union men for the duration of the job," Conlon said last night. "But they are being very stubborn." Union members who wore placards alleging that Conlon was destroying wages and standards of the industry said that the job was large and should be reserved for union workers. Union Business Manager Eugene Curry said the union could only support a solution that endorsed a complete union staff since the members are nervous that the employment of non-union workers would set a precedent against hiring unions in the future. "We didn't get anywhere," Curry said. "We want it to be all union." Museum Superintendent Don Fitzgerald said last week that the Museum hired Conlon to renovate the Mesopotamian Gallery by following standard University procedures requiring three bids and accepting the lowest. Fitzgerald added that Conlon is unionized and that it was Conlon -- not the University -- that decided to subcontract the plastering job to non-union workers. Conlon added that his offer to the union included allowing the two union members to be employed at union wages with benefits -- a value of $1207 a week per employee -- but the union negotiators had asked for his current squad to be unionized instead. "It's an unfortunate situation," Conlon said. "They want my crew to join the union -- that is $435 dollars each -- just to join." Fitzgerald said earlier this week that he could not disclose how much money the total renovation project cost, but said that it was in the five digit range and that he was hopeful for an expedient settlement. "There is no doubt in my mind that the two parties will settle," Fitzgerald said. "Both sides have come to the table -- that's the way its supposed to work."

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