US

To protest hiring of non-union help, union hires non-union pickets

interns Contributor

Thought unions only hired union workers? Think again. Apparently, unions are relaxing their rules during the economic downturn to hire non-union members to walk picket lines.

The Wall Street Journal reports:

“So instead, the union hires unemployed people at the minimum wage—$8.25 an hour—to walk picket lines. Mr. Raye says he’s grateful for the work, even though he’s not sure why he’s doing it. “I could care less,” he says. “I am being paid to march around and sound off.”

While some might view a union that intensely lobbies for union members hiring non-union workers to fight for its causes to be more than a little contradictory, organization leaders don’t seem to have a problem with it.

“We’re not at all ashamed,” Jimmy Gibbs, director of special projects for the Southeastern Council told the Wall Street Journal. “We’re helping people who are in a difficult situation.”

Another union leader said that by hiring the unemployed, unions are giving back to their communities. The national unemployment rate currently sits at 9.5 percent, which leaves unions no shortage of new hires. And the jobless are quickly lining up to walk the picket lines – even if they are only getting paid minimum wage.