Topic: Out of Flyover Land
A little something that is in the local Las Vegas news, but if it hits National, it will be drastically edited.
Hat tip toTim Covington at
De Opresso Liber
Picketers for Hire
The strange business of protesting jobs that may be better than yours
By Stacy J. Willis
Photo by Iris Dumuk
The shade from the Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market sign is minimal around noon; still, six picketers squeeze their thermoses and Dasani bottles onto the dirt below, trying to keep their water cool. They're walking five-hour shifts on this corner at Stephanie Street and American Pacific Drive in Henderson?anti-Wal-Mart signs propped lazily on their shoulders, deep suntans on their faces and arms?with two 15-minute breaks to run across the street and use the washroom at a gas station.
They're not union members; they're temp workers employed through Allied Forces/Labor Express by the union?United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW). They're making $6 an hour, with no benefits; it's 104 F, and they're protesting the working conditions inside the new Wal-Mart grocery store.
Below Area Standards, picketer and former Wal-Mart employee Sal Rivera says about the notorious working conditions of his former big-box employer: "I can't complain. It wasn't bad. They started paying me at $6.75, and after three months I was already getting $7, then I got Employee of the Month, and by the time I left (in less than one year), I was making $8.63 an hour." Rivera worked in maintenance and quit four years ago for personal reasons, he says. He would consider reapplying.
The group has no transportation to go elsewhere?they are dropped off by a union van and picked up later. On weekends, they have to find their own transportation, Greer said.
Inside, the store manager at the Stephanie Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market says he's perfectly happy with his job, and that his insurance is fine.
"The average rate of pay for Nevada Wal-Mart workers is $10.17 an hour. We have a good insurance program, and every associate?even part-timers?are eligible for the 401k," says Mark Dyson. "There's actually different levels of insurance, dental and medical?I have a $500 deductible, but there's no cap on it. Some other companies' plans have a $1 million cap, but here there's no cap. For example, not long ago we had an associate whose husband needed a liver transplant, and that alone was $600,000; but they didn't have to worry about a cap.
In Dyson's market, the air-conditioning is cool, business on this day seems brisk, and the employees seem not so miserable; two checkers chat it up as they ring up customers.
This is not lost on the picketers outside.
Rivera removes his watch to show the dark tan his arm has gotten working in the sun; he talks about how he takes three buses to get to this work site on weekends; it takes two hours to get there and two hours to get home?a nine-hour day including that transportation for a gross pay of $35.
"I asked him (union organizer Hornbrook), I said, 'How come we're working here for $6 an hour? I need you to help us find a better job. I want information on the union,'" Rivera said.
I clipped out just part of the story, go to the website and read it all.
What sticks out to me is that these people are walking long hours in the hot sun for next to nothing for a pittance. They are protesting working conditions that compared to theirs look like paradise.
What happens if they do a REALLY good job? Well then the Union calls the Temp Agency and tells it they do not need these workers anymore, BUT if they can get jobs in a Union shop all by their own efforts?
Why the Union will be HAPPY to represent them and collect their dues.
At least the Union is being smart, they are using Temps. They are therefore not obligated to pay Workman's Comp. Unemployment benefits and ALL the little details that they demand and insist Employers be responsible for.
Let us call a spade a spade they are running a literal sweatshop operation outside in 100+ temperatures and when they no longer need these workers, they will discard them.
The Union justifies their actions with this sentiment
"This is an informational picket line only," Hornbrook said. "We're paying these people. They were out of work before (joining their picket lines). This is an in-between-jobs stop.
I see. They were out of work, so they are being done a favor by having this job, otherwise they might not be working at all, OR they might have gotten jobs with someone who would treat them like human beings with decent wages, raises, benefits and working conditions.
If I were Walmart, I would pull all my employees up front, point at the picket lines, point out some of the items I listed above, and ask them, Who around here is treating the people working for them like YOU want to be treated? Us in here or the Union out there.
What is WRONG with this picture?