Tuesday, September 13, 2005


Irony Anyone?

Las Vegas Weekly: "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.
Periodically one of them will sit down in a slightly larger slice of shade under a giant electricity pole in the intersection. Four lanes of traffic rush by, some drivers honk in support, more than once someone has yelled, 'assholes!' but mostly, they're ignored.
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.
'It don't make no sense, does it?' says James Greer, the line foreman and the only one who pulls down $8 an hour, as he ambles down the sidewalk, picket sign on shoulder, sweaty hat over sweaty gray hair, spitting sunflower seeds. 'We're sacrificing for the people who work in there, and they don't even know it.'
The union accuses Wal-Mart of dragging down wages and working conditions for other grocery-store workers across the nation. 'Whether you work or shop at Wal-Mart, the giant retailer's employment practices affect your wages. Wal-Mart leads the race to the bottom in wages and health-care,' says the UFCW's website. 'As the largest corporation in the world, Wal-Mart has a responsibility to the people who built it."

Is the union taking advantage of laborers? Isn't it their purpose to protect laborers? Don't get me wrong. I support the early need for unions. I even support the concept of protecting labor from the absolute power of corporate leaders. What this article implies, however, is that they have grown far from the union's original charters. The union leaders have now been caught doing exactly what they suggest they are there to protect against.

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?