Thursday, February 02, 2006

I dreamed I saw Joe Hill last night ...

This post by the Prof. McAdams is fascinating. I am intrigued by the notion of unions 1) hiring folks to picket in the heat outside Wal-Mart at wages significantly less than Wal-Mart is paying to the "exploited" folks working in the air-conditioned big box and 2) east coast trade unions hiring homeless people who picket the "substandard wages" paid non-union labor (which are, I am almost certain based on professional experience, are many times what the picketers are paid) because their own members are too busy making good money elsewhere.

If Wal-Mart was really opressing the brow of labor, you'd think there might be some actual Wal-mart employees who might want to get on that union train. It wouldn't be necessary to out-source at "slave" wages.

If non-union labor was getting into the pockets of union workers, maybe a few of them would be available to picket. Anyone who has dealt with east coast trade unions (as I have) knows that what they want from non-union jobs is the dues and contibution to the "benefits" fund, not to unionize the "scab" contractors. Pure and simple. If you pay, they go away. Every time.

I grew up in a union household and am steeped in labor lore. I know all the lyrics to "Joe Hill" by heart - and have for about 35 years. But if this is what the labor movvement has come to, its not hard to see why its comatose.

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