Memo to WGA: Homeless picketers work cheap

Some advice from Washington’s Brotherhood of Carpenters – apparently no one chants about low-wage injustice better than a circle of homeless people.  As Keith L. Alexander reports for the Washington Post, the Mid-Atlantic Regional Council of Carpenters have hired homeless people to picket outside construction sites using non-union workers. 

The union is one of the most active in the state, “routinely staging as many as eight picket lines a day.”  Perhaps it’s just good business sense, as NPR’s Frank Langfitt hypothesizes.  The union pays the picketers 8 bucks an hour, leaving their $20-plus per hour carpenters available for work.  And perhaps these temps truly believe in the cause?  Perhaps not:

“It’s about the cash,” said Tina Shaw, 44, who lives in a House of Ruth women’s shelter and has walked the line at various sites. “We’re against low wages, but I’m here for the cash.”

Check out Frank Langfitt’s NPR story where he interviewers the for-hire picketers, pictured above (photo: Heidi Glenn, NPR).

–Michael Jones

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  1. Oliver Oertel says:

    I did miss that. Sorry for the angry reaction. It was pretty early in the AM. Though it’s worth noting that your point could be easily misread, I humbly admit that I missed it.

  2. Michael Jones says:

    Oliver, the post was meant to highlight a deep contrast of tactics used by unions to achieve the same thing — better wages. If anything, it compliments what the WGA is doing, as opposed to the shameful strategy used by a fellow AFL-CIO endorsed union. I’m sorry you didn’t see that.

  3. Oliver Oertel says:

    Shame on you, Variety. This story has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with the WGA strike. It’s just a cheap shot at labor unions that attempts to conflate the shady practices of one particular carpenter’s union with the justified protest in which the WGA is currently engaged.
    I’m a non-WGA industry employee. My family is deeply affected by the strike. I’ve walked the picket lines in support. I carried a sign and cheered as passing motorists honked for us. The people with whom I marched shoulder-to-shoulder are not erudite millionaires. They are honest people who were given a chance to make a living with their creativity. They are creators of a product that they only ask to sell for a fair price. They’re not out hiring homeless people to walk the lines. I don’t know what Michael Jones is playing at, but it sounds like cynical taunting to me.
    I believe that if the AMPTP takes down the WGA that any contributor to the final product could be next. This is the beginning of a long battle and the WGA should be commended for taking the first big leap into this uncharted territory.

  4. speedy says:

    To the shill who keeps writing the same below-the-line hard-luck story over and over again on these message boards:
    Does the AMPTP pay you by the hour, or by the word? At some point, you may qualify for membership in the WGA…

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