Union workers picket outside Amazon distribution center, but why?

KENOSHA (WITI) -- Dozens of union workers picketed the construction site for the massive Amazon distribution center in Kenosha Friday, September 19th.

They're upset contract workers are coming in from out of state to build a facility partly paid for with tax payer money.

The Amazon distribution center is expected to create more than 1,000 jobs once it opens.

"This is what it's going to take for people to realize that," said Craig Hanson, Union Machinist from St. Francis.

Hanson spoke about the jobs at stake right now, and says he could be working at the site -- but some of the jobs were given to out-of-state contractors.

"We like local money to be spent locally on local trades, local crafts, and local jobs," said Hanson.

Hundreds of contractors are being paid to build the one-million square foot facility, and not all of them are local.

Dan Slane is with the carpenters union, he's based in Pewaukee.

"I have more than 350 members in southeastern Wisconsin alone," said Slane.

It's certainly not illegal for the Amazon project to hire outside help, but Slane says since a lot of local money is tied to the project, there should be an extra effort to hire locally.

"We certainly assumed that when tax-payer money was being spent to bring this stuff here, our members were looking forward to go back to work and they are not," Slane said.

On Friday, Slane and about 70 other union members were doing what they do best, which is work with their hands.

"Why would I want to spend my local dollar on somebody from South Carolina, Montana, or Missouri when I can put my own tax dollar in my pocket," said

This meant Friday, picking up a sign, another tool of their trade.

The distribution center received a $17 million TIF grant from the state. The city is Kenosha pledged $18 million to pay for infrastructural improvements around the site.