Unions call for Providence courthouse to close during bed bug treatment

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) – Almost one week after the fifth floor of the Garrahy Judicial Complex was treated for bed bugs, the insects are still around.

“They haven’t rectified the problems,” said Kathy Mcelroy, President of a local union, SEIU local 580. “I am concerned. Some of my workers are there every day, in and out of various floors of that courthouse.”

And now local unions are getting involved. Rhode Island Council 94 as well as SEIU Local 580 have filed grievances against the state.

Council 94 is demanding the entire courthouse be shut down until the issue is resolved. Local 580 isn’t demanding that the building be shut down, but isn’t opposed to the idea.

However, exterminators say otherwise.

“That’s not necessary. First of all, you’d be exposing people in other areas to pesticides that they do not need to be exposed to,” says the Vice President of the Big Blue Bug Solutions, Tony DeJesus

A spokesperson for the court sent out a notice saying the third and fifth floors have been treated and there are no signs of the bugs this morning.

Exterminators say even if treated properly, it may take up to a month to get rid of bedbugs completely, especially in a busy area like the courthouse

But the unions say this is a health concern and they are prepared to protect their employees from spreading the bugs.

As of right now, the entire courthouse is open to the public.

There will be an employees only meeting held Thursday afternoon to discuss the problem and treatment.


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