On reading that the Carpenters Union hired others to picket for them in Washington, D.C., Ed Morrissey thinks the pickets who are paid less than WalMart workers should unite:
The ironies here are so thick that one could cut them with a labor-produced knife. Does the union offer these workers a chance to organize? Perhaps they should form Picket Line Walkers Local #1 and demand a better wage than $8 per hour. The working conditions sound rather grim as well. Do these workers get paid breaks, health-care coverage, and a safe working environment? Er ... no.
And let's take a look at that wage for just a moment. They're getting paid a whopping eight dollars per hour, almost certainly with no benefits. The Wal-Mart protest site, You Are Worth More, puts the average Wal-Mart hourly pay at $9.26 per hour -- which means they pay better than Labor pays its protest workers by 16%. Another site, Wake Up Wal-Mart, notes that the lowest paid job at the retailer still pays $8.23 per hour, and it doesn't involve hours of pacing in the hot sun during the summertime. And while some may consider Wal-Mart's benefits package insufficient, at least it exists.
The union's colleagues aren't impressed, nor should they be. The carpenters use what are essentially scabs for picket work because they apparently don't have enough out-of-work members to staff picket lines. That doesn't cut it for Wayne Ranick of the United Steelworkers, who says it doesn't leave a "positive impression" for labor. Homeless advocates interviewed by the Post call it an exploitation of the downtrodden, and wonder why the carpenters' union doesn't do some real good by providing these picketers with job training.