Union coalition launches “Shop at Your Own Risk” ad campaign

Members of a coalition of 28 unions gathered outside Ridgedale Mall on Wednesday to launch a “Shop at your Own Risk” ad campaign warning shoppers of potentially serious safety hazards at the mall. Despite documenting and reporting many hazards at several of the mall’s construction sites over the past six months, the unions’ concerns have gone unheeded.

Since breaking ground last year, Ridgedale’s renovation effort has been plagued by interruptions and safety problems: a roof fire in Macy’s in November 2013,unlocked electrical boxes,unsecured demolition sites,and demolition being performed without personal protective equipment.  

“We’re here today because were tired of getting lip service from Ridgedale Mall about our issues of safety concerns on the construction site,” said Dan McConnell, president of the Minneapolis Building and Construction Trades Council. We’re calling on them to sit with us and address our concerns.”

Coalition members distributed letters to businesses at the mall, informing them of the upcoming campaign and educating them about safety problems in the mall’s $100 million renovation project. McConnell says the coalition is aware that the campaign is occurring as the busy shopping season approaches but that safety for workers,shoppers,and especially tenants must take precedence.

“We regret any inconvenience this may cause you as a Ridgedale Center tenant, and we encourage you to contact mall management to let them know that it’s time for them to put a halt to unsafe construction practices at the mall.”

“I think the retail tenants are quite interested in hearing information that the mall may not be providing them. Its mall management that's intent on making sure they don’t get that information,” said Kevin Pranis of the Laborers’ Union. 

A major component of the campaign is an innovative and ambitious mobile media ad campaign specifically directed at Ridgedale Mall shoppers.  Images of the “Shop at Your Own Risk” logo will appear on the wireless and mobile devices of Ridgedale Center customers and will link viewers to the campaign’s safety message.

Said Pranis, “I think its one of the great things about mobile technology that previously if the police threw us off site we had no way of reaching people who are accessing the mall in their cars and driving by- aside from holding signs. Now they can actually get our message as they’re shopping at the mall. I think Ridgedale hoped to prevent us from reaching their customers by kicking us off property, and our message to management is you’re not going to be able to stop us from reaching your customers- you need to refocus on solving the problem.” 

The website for the campaign is ShopAtYourOwnRisk.com and the Facebook page isfacebook.com/ShopAtYourOwnRisk

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