Carrie Rengers

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Subaru of Wichita responds to 'Shame on Subaru' sign with one of its own

06/25/2014 5:53 PM

06/25/2014 5:53 PM

WICHITA — Labor dispute signs have been popping up at all kinds of businesses and nonprofits in the last couple of years, but Subaru of Wichita appears to be the first business to fight back.

"To be accused of desecrating the American way of life, we're going to take a little bit of exception to that," says Aaron Wirtz, who handles marketing and media for Subaru.

Earlier this week, the United Brotherhood Of Carpenters And Joiners Of America Local 201 began a protest in front of the dealership, which is on East Kellogg between Greenwich and 127th Street.

Subaru is in the process of a $1.5 million update to transform the property to the Subaru brand from the previous Suzuki brand that was there.

Wirtz says in addition to hiring a local architect on the project, Subaru hired Wichita's Key Construction as its contractor. He says Key then hired Hi-Tech Interiors, a local nonunion firm, to do a small portion of drywall work.

In response, the Carpenters union now has people manning a "Shame on Subaru of Wichita" sign on an easement in front of the dealership.

"While we're certainly not happy to see that, we were kind of unsurprised," Wirtz says.

In response, Subaru now has a sign that plays off the "Shame" by saying, "For having unbeatable prices." It also says "indisputable" in a couple of places on the sign.

Wirtz says Subaru respects the union's right to protest.

"We've actually given them lunch. We've invited them to visit our facilities."

Wirtz says he's convinced the people with the sign are simply hired by the union to stand there.

"It doesn't really look like they want to be here anymore than we want them to be here, to be quite frank."

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About Carrie Rengers

Carrie Rengers joined The Eagle's Business team in 2002 despite her inability to even balance a checkbook. Fortunately for her, and readers, her Have You Heard? blog is about business scoops and contains lots of news but almost no math.

A Michigan native, Carrie’s father was quite tragically transferred to Little Rock, Ark., in the middle of her sophomore year of high school. To make matters worse, her parents put her in a girls school. She recovered, though, and went on to enjoy being an English major at Hendrix College (the Harvard of the Ozarks, don’t you know). She worked for the weekly Arkansas Business and the statewide daily Arkansas Democrat-Gazette before moving to Wichita to be with her favorite writer and cook, husband Joe Stumpe.

Carrie encourages readers to contact her with tips, questions, behind-the-scenes business news and even funny quotes from business people. Reach her at 316-268-6340 or crengers@wichitaeagle.com

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