For as long as I can remember, Wal-Mart has been The Great Satan to unions. Their fierce resistance to allowing unions into their stores and facilities has been a thorn in their side, and the retailing behemoth’s rise to the top of the food chain has driven them to fits of outrage.
(Note: I’ve repeatedly said I’m no fan of Wal-Mart, but I loathe the unions more in this case.)
Wal-Mart’s position seems simple: most of their employees are unskilled laborers, and they pay competitive wages for those types of workers. It’s a bit harsh, but I have to concede it — there seems to be an infinite supply of potential employees, which essentially disarms the unions of their most potent club — the withholding of qualified workers.
So the United Food And Commercial Workers (UFCW) has decided to shame the giant into complying. They’ve organized a picket at a Wal-Mart in Las Vegas.
But protesting, especially in Vegas, is hard work. It’s hot — often over 100 degrees. The days are long, the sun beats down brutally, and traffic fumes are vile. So the union did what so many other businesses do — they outsourced the picketing.
In order to draw attention to Wal-Mart’s paying its workers an average of $10.17 an hour with benefits, the UFCW hired a bunch of temps at $6.00 an hour with no benefits. And while the oppressed, exploited Wal-Mart workers slave away in air-conditioned comfort, those blessed with the Union paychecks walk up and down outside in the sun until they get blisters on their feet. The Wal-Mart workers are coerced into taking regular breaks in a private area; the Union employees are dropped off at the beginning of their shift and left to fend for themselves for the entire day.
I remember back in 1991 when the NFL got all bent out of shape over the Martin Luther King holiday. They threatened to withhold the Super Bowl or some such thing from Arizona because that state didn’t recognize the day. Someone did a little digging, and found out that the NFL’s own employees weren’t given that day off.
Ah, double standards. Where would the fine people behind the Labor Movement be if they actually had to live under the same rules they demand businesses abide by?
Update: Sometimes my mind works in slow, yet evil ways. Imagine if the HR person on site at the picketed Wal-Mart were to go out and offer jobs to the picketers…