A car dealership in Wichita, Kan. has come up with an interesting response to a local union’s campaign to shame the dealership for using non-union workers.
A large white banner, manned by several people in front of the dealership, reads “Shame on Subaru of Wichita.” But the dealership responded with a banner of its own that reads “For Having Unbeatable Prices.”
The Carpenters Local 201 union says that the car dealer is using a drywall company for a construction project that employs non-union workers. The banner’s guards, whom Subaru of Wichita says it believes are temp workers hired by the union, also hand out fliers that accuse the dealership of being “rats.”
The carpenter’s union has employed similar tactics across Wichita and other cities over the past few years. It recently picketed a jewelry store, a branch of the YMCA, a church, and Wichita State University all over construction projects that use subcontractors that rely on non-union workers.
The union claims that the contractors pay their workers wages that are below “area standard wages”.
Besides targeting businesses that hire the construction companies, the local union also pesters construction companies themselves.
A spokesman for one Wichita drywall company that was targeted by Local 201 described more of the union’s tactics to The Daily Caller News Foundation in an email interview last year.
The carpenter’s union, which has roots in St. Louis, sends letters to businesses seeking information on their pay scale and hounds others into disclosing which contractors and subcontractors they are using.
“Their letter accuses us of paying substandard wages without offering any evidence of how they arrived at that conclusion,” said Jeremy Satterfield, who works for the drywall company targeted during their work for Wichita State University.
“Then it attempts to place the burden on us to prove to them we are paying appropriate wages,” said Satterfield adding that if the company refused to company the union “will assume we are paying our employees substandard wages if we don’t provide them with the information they are requesting.”
Besides their response banner, Suburu of Wichita also rebutted the union’s antics in a blog post.
“After pouring $1.5 million into the local economy by selecting a local construction company, architecture firm, and bank, we hope you’ll understand our taking exception at being depicted as rats eating the American flag, as their flyer suggests,” reads the post.
“The phrase ‘Labor Dispute’ on the banner is also disingenuous, as there is no “dispute” between any of the companies that have performed work on our grounds.”
The use of “Shame” signs and literature accusing companies of being “rats” has been found unlawful in at least one instance. In 2012, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a $1.7 million judgement in favor of a Georgia drywall company for damages against another sign-wielding union.
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