D.C. garage floor coating workers say they are fighting for more than $3,000 in new funding for the next two years as they struggle to pay the bills.
The group of roughly 30 men, who are all members of the Metropolitan Association of Garage Floor Insulation Workers, is seeking to secure $1,000 a month from the city for each of the next six months, according to a letter obtained by The Washington Times.
The group’s budget was set at $8,500 last year, and its budget has jumped to $11,500 this year.
But the group has been unable to raise enough money to cover the cost of rent, electricity and other expenses, the letter says.
“The city is not taking care of us,” said Scott Kiesler, who owns a coat repair shop in the Northwest.
“We are not getting paid.
They are not taking our calls, we are not being heard.”
Bureau of Buildings spokeswoman Sara Bierman confirmed that the bureau has not yet provided funding for garage floor repair.
She said the bureau provides grants and loans for the repair of coat insulations, but it has not provided funding specifically for garage coat men.
The letter was addressed to Mayor Muriel E. Bowser and Mayor Vincent C. Gray.
It asks the city to provide “adequate funding” for the men.
Bierman also said the agency is reviewing a contract with the Metropolitan Garage Flooring Association, a trade group representing the industry, to find a new source of funding for repairs.
But she said that has not been determined.
“We will be reaching out to the trade group to find out what they need, and we will do that if we can,” Biermann said.
The bureau has no specific contract for garage coats, she said.
Bumper stickers have appeared on many garages throughout the city.
But most garages have only one sticker that says “GARAGE COATING MACHINES” and the rest are labeled as “BANKS.”
The city has been under increasing pressure from workers and advocates for the garage flooring industry to provide funding for their repairs.
In July, the group called for the city “to establish a moratorium on all garage coat repair contracts,” but that proposal did not get traction.
Bureau officials said they are not looking for a bailout but are working on new ways to help repair garages.
They said that if the city does not provide a funding source, “there will be no one to do it.”
The group also said it will call a public meeting on the issue and that it has started collecting signatures for a petition.
The garage floor coats were first invented in the 1920s and have become part of the fabric of life in the District.
They were designed to last for up to 30 years, but are often susceptible to moisture and mold.
The Metropolitan Association, which represents coat manufacturers and is also responsible for the federal government’s roof sealers program, estimates that more than 4,000 coat insulators were manufactured in the U.S. during the 1980s and 1990s, and that many of those were used to protect buildings from fire.
The association’s mission is to “enhance the public safety, health and well-being of all residents by protecting and maintaining the safety of residential buildings, including garages, as a building and building owner,” according to its website.
The Washington City Paper reported in 2015 that a federal agency in the federal Housing and Urban Development Department had awarded more than a dozen coat insulator contracts to contractors in Washington, D.W., including a contract to repair a building in Georgetown, and a contract for a coat insulation to replace the roof of a Washington, DC, elementary school.
The contract awarded by the Housing and Community Development Department to the coat insulating contractor in Georgetown said it was able to provide repairs to all buildings within two years of completion, but that the coating could be damaged in transit and could cause mold, dust and other problems, The Washington City Post reported.
The contract was for $1.8 million.
The Georgetown contract, the newspaper said, was worth $2.5 million.
The coat insulate manufacturer, GRAIN Insulation, was awarded $4.5 to $6.3 million by the federal agency.