Well, I guess this is one way to create jobs. The Wall Street Journal reports that the Mid-Atlantic Council of Carpenters, a labor union, recently organized a protest outside of an office building in D.C. that employed non-union workers. However, in an incredibly ironic twist, the group actually hired non-union members to picket with them for the day.
"For a lot of our members, it's really difficult to have them come out, either because of parking or something else,” one of the union’s representatives explained to the Journal. Eager to hold the protest anyway, the group decided to hire a few unemployed people to picket with them, and paid them $8.25 an hour (the minimum wage).
Not surprisingly, conservative blogs like RedState.com responded to this story by calling this union “lazy” and “arrogant.” Truth be told, the irony of this arrangement was not lost on anyone, except possibly the union, which admits to hiring non-union members to join them in about 150 picket lines every day (we have no idea what all those picket lines could possibly be protesting.) In fact, the union’s spokesperson tried to cast this move in a better light by arguing that “we are also giving back to the community a bit” by hiring people who need temporary jobs.
Whether or not you agree with this reasoning, unions have been slowly declining for years. As we reported recently, the number of major labor strikes hit an all-time low last year, which may be due in part to the economy. With the job market in shambles, workers are too worried about losing their jobs to picket, which means they have little choice but to hire others to do so instead.
As the Journal notes, besides this union, several activist groups have also resorted to hiring picketers. Yet there is a downside to this arrangement. You end up with passionate protestors marching alongside people who are only in it for the money. When the paid protestors were asked how they felt about the cause, multiple people told the Journal “I don’t care.”