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Tuesday, November 28, 2023


Employees at the brand-new Innovative Center on St. Croix were forced to evacuate the building Wednesday afternoon when a peculiar smell invaded, raising health concerns. ICC Vice-President Holland Redfield says the source was readily identified, but that precautions were deemed prudent.
ICC, the parent company of businessman Jeffrey Prosser's enterprises, has had labor problems of late, but the incident on Wednesday did not involve the dispute with employees of Innovative Cable: St. Croix, one of its companies.
"We had painters on the outside, we smelled the fumes and really didn't know what was going on, so we evacuated the building around 11 a.m.," Redfield said noting that once the source of the odor was determined, air samples were done and the employees were allowed back into the building by 1 p.m. "We called in the EPA to do the air quality samplings and we intend to do our own testing on Thursday, just as a precaution," he added.
The company consolidated many of its subsidiary operations under one roof two weeks ago, and cross-trained employees of the telephone and cable companies, thus consolidating technical and other areas. As a result, cable employees previously represented by Our Virgin Islands Labor Union were told they had to become members of the dominant Steelworkers Union, which has long represented employees of the telephone company.
Workers were locked out until Dec. 4 when they agreed to join the Steelworkers, until they agreed to do so, but under protest. During the dispute, an act of sabotage at the cable system's head end knocked out cable service to all 13,000 St. Croix subscribers.
An investigation is under way with a $100,000 reward having being offered by iCC. Police said this week they are following good leads on the case, but Redfield said Wednesday he knows of nothing new in the probe.
"The system is up 100 percent and as far as a few days ago when I inquired about the investigation, there was really no new information available," Redfield said.
In the meantime, the unsettled issue of union representation is before the National Labor Relations Board. Redfield said company operations continue as normal until the matter is decided.
"The decision is still pending at the NLRB, the employees are back to work and I hope everything works out fine," Redfield said, adding, "Time will tell what will transpire."
ICC executives went to great length Wednesday to indicate there was no connection between the ongoing labor dispute and the evacuation of the company's headquarters on St. Croix.

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