State lawmakers, inflatable rats call attention to Schaumburg union protest
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Illinois state senators Laura Murphy and Cristina Castro probably thought they'd accidentally driven onto the set of a monster movie Friday.
There, in front of Lifetime Fitness on Higgins Road in Schaumburg, they spotted not one, but several menacing giant rats looming over small groups of people.
It wasn't a movie, but a labor protest using those inflatable rodents with prominent white teeth and sharp claws.
"We are protesting Lifetime Fitness because in Northbrook, they're constructing a facility that's being built by 90 percent nonunion workers," said Leo Esparza of Chicago, a manager for Laborers Local One. "We want to turn things around and supply local jobs for local people."
Esparza said the company imported workers from Iowa and Tennessee to pay less in wages and benefits.
Calls to Schaumburg's Lifetime Fitness center were not returned.
Democrats Murphy, of Des Plaines, and Castro, of Elgin, spoke with Local One members.
"We were driving along and saw our friends from labor," Murphy said, "so we stopped by to show our support.
These jobs should stay here because that way these folks provide for our local economy and they will spend their money in our local economy instead of spending their money in another state."
Laborers Local One also had protesters at the Lifetime Fitness Northbrook site, Esparza said.