Saturday, February 18, 2006

Labor Movement Gives Anti-Union Forces The Ammo... Again

The AFL-CIO sweatshop
By Rick Berman
The Washington Times

They work outside in the middle of February at poverty-level wages. They don't have health benefits or regular hours. Their pay is docked for taking bathroom breaks. And they have no one to speak up for their needs.

Ask a labor leader if these workers are in desperate need of a union. Then see if he'd like to revise his thought when he learns they're employees of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters.

With a ringing endorsement from AFL-CIO chief John Sweeney, the Carpenters have taken to hiring the homeless to picket construction sites. Needless to say, there's no health care or pension plan contributions for these folks.

In Las Vegas, the temp workers hired by the United Food and Commercial Workers union to protest outside Wal-Mart were paid a grand total of $6 an hour. The union was generous enough to cover bathroom breaks, but in the middle of a scorching desert summer with picketers dropping out from the heat, perhaps these part-time employees would have preferred health care.

The union's attack on Wal-Mart includes the usual gripes about the so-called wage gap between corporate executives and hourly workers. But in 2004, United Food and Commercial Workers paid its former president more than $700,000. Apparently, unions are willing to pay top dollar--with dues from grocery store cashiers--to construct their glass houses.

Speaking of glass houses, the AFL-CIO recently took out a $25 million loan to spruce up its lavish headquarters across from the White House. Regrettably, a quarter of the labor federation's staff won't be around to enjoy it. In May, the AFL-CIO announced that it was "defunding" their positions.

Remember that the next time unions run up a company's labor costs and then complain about the decision to lay off workers.


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