John Fund, writing in the subscription—only Wall Street Journal Political Diary, catches labor unions practicing exactly what they denounce large corportations such as Wal—Mart for doing.
McClatchy Newspapers reports that in Washington, Baltimore, Atlanta and other cities, homeless shelters are being emptied by union organizers who apparently can't find enough dues—paying members to man the picket lines in winter weather. "We're giving jobs to people who didn't have jobs, people who in some cases couldn't secure work," explained George Eisner, head of the mid—Atlantic regional council of the Carpenters' Union.
Neil Bernstein, a labor law professor at Washington University in St. Louis, is skeptical that the union's outsourcing will do much for its image. "They're basically doing what they're criticizing the employers for doing —— getting the cheapest people to do the job," he told the McClatchy papers.
The Carpenters Union has apparently taken its phone off the hook. But AFL—CIO President John Sweeney entered the fray and has defended the hiring of workers without providing health care, even though he lambastes Wal—Mart and other employers for doing the same. He says he hopes homeless protesters "may work themselves into a full—time job where they would get benefits." Hmmm, isn't that what Wal—Mart says? But at Wal—Mart it really happens and doesn't take more than a few months on the job. Somehow I doubt the Carpenters Union will be promoting many homeless picketers to "Master Heckler" with full—time pay and benefits.
I can remember a time when the American labor unions had a point beyond "gimme!" That seems like a long time ago.
Ed Lasky 2 11 06