Posted by: bridget | 24 July 2007

Union Outsources Own Work to Save Money

Add this one to the “could not make it up” category: Washington, D.C. carpenters’ unions are hiring people to picket at $1/hour above the minimum wage.  Union carpenters earn approximately $19/hour; the union is paying its picketers $8/hour. The union regularly pickets non-union projects in the Washington area, regardless of how much the carpenters are being paid. 

Supporters of the practice consider it a creative tactic in an era of declining union membership and clout. But critics say the reliance on nonunion members — who are paid $1 above minimum wage and receive no benefits — diminishes the impact and undercuts a principle established over decades of union struggles.

If by “creative tactic,” you mean “blatant hypocrisy,” then yes, this elephant agrees.   The purpose of a union is to drive up wages of its members, above that which they would obtain in a free market; yet, the union decided that those wages are too high to pay its own workers.  Unions frequently picket places that pay its own workers union or above-union salaries (ex. Bristol Farms) but do hire exclusively union workers, in an attempt to undermine the free market and increase employment for its members.  Here, we see unions who have decided that a) their wages are too high to pay their own workers to picket; and b) the free market (hiring students and homeless) is a sound solution.  The irony.

This comes on the heels of a radical increase in the federal minimum wage (from $5.15/hour to $7.25/hour, at $0.70 until 2009); as the Cato Institute points out, the main beneficiaries of an increase in minimum wage are union members, who cannot lose employment despite increased business costs. 

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Responses

  1. I just spit soda all over my monitor. Thanks a lot. lol.

  2. Thank you! ::Curtsies::

    Whoops – I mean, sorry about your monitor. If you ever spit on your keyboard, turn it upside down and disconnect power immediately. :)

  3. By the way, between this, Hillary’s criticism of the man who lobbied for Marc Rich’s release, and the Nobel Peace laureate who wants to “non-violently kill” President Bush, do you ever feel like you landed in a Saturday Night Live skit?

  4. “do you ever feel like you landed in a Saturday Night Live skit?”

    Less professional. More like MADtv.

  5. I am appalled, why should they be paying so much for pickets when they can get illegal aliens cheaper.
    Sorry, I meant undocumented guest workers.

  6. Gloating never felt so good. Do you think they felt any shame doing this?

  7. Total Transformation ~

    My mistake.

  8. Sunday School Teacher~

    Not sure. After all, we need illegals to do the work that Americans won’t do, right? (Perhaps because union wages are too freakin high for a lot of employers…??)

  9. Neil,

    (Laughing.) If you continue reading the article, they tried to justify it. Of course, if you are homeless, $8/hour is better than nothing. Then again, unions force companies to give them jobs (instead of to other members of the working class) and set up conditions whereby hiring people is expensive… so it’s partly their problem, anyway.

    Grrrrr.

  10. All kidding aside, I suppose this is good news. What clearer example could you have that driving wages artificially high is counterproductive and/or unsustainable? It is like the Chinese, who love the power of Communism but can’t deny the benefits of capitalism.

  11. What clearer example could you have that driving wages artificially high is counterproductive and/or unsustainable?

    None. All kidding aside, is there any clearer example that unions aren’t about representing the little guy so much as creating a cartel whose sole purpose is to coerce companies into paying them higher-than-normal wages and employing their people – i.e. that which we usually call “theft.”

  12. Bridget….Hey not only are they only getting a dollar more than minimum wage, they are getting about $2 per hour less than the Unions claim is a living wage.

    But……if they couldn’t hire the union workers to picket for $8 per hour they would have to hire non-union workers to make ends meet. Isn’t it wonderful to see more left wing hypocrisy in action………..steve

  13. It occurs to me that what those pickets need is a union.

  14. “It occurs to me that what those pickets need is a union.”

    Care to help me go unionize them? :-)

  15. But……if they couldn’t hire the union workers to picket for $8 per hour they would have to hire non-union workers to make ends meet. Isn’t it wonderful to see more left wing hypocrisy in action………..steve

    Go figure. They can’t afford to pay people a “living wage” to walk in circles. Wow – maybe you shouldn’t be able to support a family of four based on a 40-hour workweek of unskilled labour.

    SST ~ Great idea. :)

    TT ~ You’re in charge.

  16. TT – Do you think there is any money in this unionizing thing?


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