Union Hires Workers To March in Picket Line and Pays Them $8 an Hour:
The Washington Post has the story. Thanks to Sam Yospe for the link.

Related Posts (on one page):

  1. A Davis-Bacon Act for "Hired Feet":
  2. Union Hires Workers To March in Picket Line and Pays Them $8 an Hour:
Think the pay-to-walk picketers should unionize and go on strike against the union their supposed to be striking for for higher wages and shorter hours?

I'd laugh so hard.
7.24.2007 2:53pm
Justin (mail):
Old story, at least here in downtown DC. I vaguely remember some conservative group trying to unionize the picketers.
7.24.2007 3:01pm
scote (mail):
What is your point, Orin?
7.24.2007 3:02pm
Buckland (mail):
Hey, don't laugh....I actually hired out for this once back in the 1979 time frame.

My father was a UMWA coal miner back in West Virginia. During a coal strike the miners manned the picket lines throughout the Fall. However when deer season came along there were suddenly too few miners interested in jeering at company workers entering the facility. I was home from college at that week (deer season coincided with my Thanksgiving week vacation and I'm not a hunter) so I got the job for 1 week. Paid $25/day, and it was actually a pretty interesting day's work.

I was looking forward to striking again over Christmas vacation, but they didn't need me.
7.24.2007 3:07pm
ras (mail):
The picketers should get, by law, the same wage that the union is on strike for from its employer since they are each in fact doing a union member's job at that point.

I dunno if I'm being ironic or not.
7.24.2007 3:08pm
rarango (mail):
confirms my suspicions that union leadership is out of it--they could have gone down to the 7/11 or home depot and hired out some illegals for a lot cheaper--thats what real americans do. (sarcasm off)
7.24.2007 3:29pm
Nels Nelson (mail):
I don't see a problem as long as the union is paying the wages of the picketers, and the number of hired picketers doesn't exceed the number of union members.
7.24.2007 3:41pm
scote (mail):
Picketing is not a skilled labor job. $8/hr for non-skilled labor to perform a rather easy job seems like a fair wage for the position, so this isn't quite the "gotcha" moment that some people might suggest.
7.24.2007 4:05pm
unhyphenatedconservative (mail):

The problem is basic. Unions are bad (except for when they endorse Ronald Reagan) and their workers are lazy (except when they vote Republican). Since they are the enemy, any time they do something that can be cast in an odd light, it must be trumpeted.
7.24.2007 4:07pm
Some Guy (mail):

Framing and hanging drywall are not really "skilled labor jobs," either. I've done them, and both pretty much just take the ability to remember to breathe. So why can't the unionized high school dropouts and illegal immigrants who do those jobs be paid a "fair wage," as well? Why is it that people like to throw around the word "fair," but they never want to let the market determine what "fair" really is?

Personally, I don't think it's fair that I make less than a limp-wristed, first-year ivy-leaguer at Hogan, but then, the market sez they're worth more...

(OK, I'm a little cheezed because I've had to sit through a homeless drum line across the street for the past week or so. For a while, they even had their inflatable rat blocking the lane to enter the parking garage that I use. They stop with the drums after the cops come by and threaten to cite them, then they bust out with them the instant the cops are out of earshot. The best part is that across the street on the other corners are all apartment buildings. I can imagine how happy the people with sleeping kids in those buildings are, right now. )
7.24.2007 4:24pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
Just to be clear from the article: these are not strike pickets, these are informational pickets. (It's still ironic, to be sure.)
7.24.2007 4:26pm
cirby (mail):
On the other hand, there have been a couple of incidents where unions were striking against Wal-Mart, and were caught hiring people to do the striking for them - for crappy wages.

Quoting myself from a previous VC post:

The UFCW is the same group that was paying non-union temp workers $6 an hour to protest at a Wal-Mart in Las Vegas.

In 100+ degree heat.

To protest a place that pays an average of over $10 an hour for people to work in air conditioning.
7.24.2007 4:33pm
Orielbean (mail):
I wish people would stop saying that Wal-Mart pays an average of over 10.00 an hour. That is NOT the median wage of the vast majority of workers - that is the "average" that includes the executive salaries and bonuses, etc. What a misnomer.
7.24.2007 4:39pm
Justin (mail):
Ironic, maybe. But a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of lesser minds.
7.24.2007 5:01pm
Perseus (mail):
So, "outsourcing" is good when unions do it, but bad when companies do it?
7.24.2007 6:09pm
Houston Lawyer:
But are those being paid to picket given health insurance? What about paid vacation? If the temperature gets too extreme, do they get the day off?
7.24.2007 6:12pm
MikeC&F (mail):
Picketing is not a skilled labor job. $8/hr for non-skilled labor to perform a rather easy job seems like a fair wage for the position,

But shouldn't skilled laborers be the ones least likely to need a union? After all, people of skill will be able to move freely from job to job - thus increasing competition and wages.

It's the sorry stiffs who can't find anything better than picketing jobs who need governmental protection. After all, what options do they have? If we don't look for them, who will?
7.24.2007 6:30pm
Some Guy: "I've had to sit through a homeless drum line across the street for the past week or so. ... The best part is that across the street on the other corners are all apartment buildings. I can imagine how happy the people with sleeping kids in those buildings are, right now."

The drummers are at street level?

The apartment dwellers with sleeping kids are in high-rises?

Easy. I recommend boiling oil. Or red-hot sand. (Burning pitch, though classic, risks setting off the smoke detectors.)

-Quaker, who thinks that any homeless folks who can afford drums and inflatable rats must have it pretty cushy.
7.24.2007 7:04pm
cirby (mail):

Actually, they do pay quite well, and not that many Wal-Mart workers get minimum wage (like some claim), but it varies throughout the country. In places like Vegas, it's higher than in smaller towns where the labor market isn't that competitive.

Including managers and corporate officers doesn't raise the wage level that much, either - WM isn't known for heavy management staffing or management pay.

$10 an hour isn't high wages, but it's not bad, and even minimum wage for Wal-Mart is better than what those picketers are getting under those conditions (I was out working in worse weather this weekend, but I get a helluva lot more per hour at my job, and they supplied us with water and forced us to take breaks).
7.24.2007 8:16pm
If this happened in California, an easy complaint filed with the Wage Commissioner would result in the non-union picketers being paid back wages with interest at the same hourly rate that the union members are paid [I know something about unions, having been elected president of my Local four times, and statewide Treasurer twice].

The Wage Commissioner has no mercy on employers. I once filed a complaint against my union for their deliberately underpaying me. I argued with the union's Executive Board until I was blue in the face, with no result. Then I filed a complaint. The Commissioner's process was a piece 'o cake. I received a 5-figure judgement from the union.

The head of the local Wage Commissioner's office told me about an employee of a pizzeria whose boyfriend came to pick her up every night. While waiting for her to finish cleaning up and closing, he'd help her put chairs on the tables and sweep the place out.

The employee was eventually let go, so the boyfriend filed a complaint with the Wage Commissioner for pay for the hours he'd helped out.

The employer's lawyer argued that the employer had never hired the guy, or given him any direction, or even acknowledged his existence. Didn't matter. The employer had to pay up.
7.24.2007 8:45pm
Is the Union paying workers comp for these people? Has OSHA made sure their working conditions are safe? Do they get overtime? Are they covered by FMLA? Are the Unions paying them as contractors or as employees and therfore paying their FAIR share of Federal, State and SS and MC taxes? Inquiring minds want to KNOW. And most of all do they get 30 minutes off for lunch and TWO 15 minute breaks per day???????
7.24.2007 11:35pm
Houston--I think your point is most significant. Pickets may not be high-skilled workers deserving high hourly rates. But shouldn't they be getting benefits?

I am not hostile to unions. But this sort of thing happens all the time in academia. Faculty and administration will proclaim loudly what Wal-Mart should be doing. And at my institution, they do: We have labor teach-ins, the "Progessive Student Association" goes out picketting, our Labor Studies Center is much more involved in advocacy that scholarship.

But ask me--Go on, ask me--if our staff is unionized.
7.25.2007 10:26am
Randy R. (mail):
Glad to hear that the average wage of Walmart is $10. This is higher than the new minimum wage that congress just passed. So why is everyone so upset that the fed wage is actually lower than what Walmart pays?

Yeah, I know. Unions are terrible, and employers are always just the sweetest guys who are struggling to pay their employees good wages and still be good corporate citizens. I just can't imagine why any employee would want a union when corporations treat them so well!
7.25.2007 11:13am
William D. Tanksley, Jr:
Randy, this is a typical problem with the minimum wage -- it's not a market force, so it's either too low (and thus has no good effect) or too high (and thus prices out low-skilled people).

The real complication with raising the minimum wage is that many union agreements specify the wages as a multiple of the minimum wage.
7.25.2007 3:18pm