Am I the only one who sees the hypocracy of this?
Online article: http://www.denverpost.com/business/ci_3402070
Full text below.
Irony marches with union sign carriers
By Tom McGhee
Denver Post Staff Writer
A passer-by walks past pickets on Broadway Avenue who are calling attention to nonunion work being done in downtown buildings. Most of the marchers are down-on-their luck day laborers. (Post / Jerry Cleveland)
Don't look for the union label on demonstrators who picket outside downtown buildings for the carpenters union.
Most are down-on-their luck day laborers, and some are homeless.
"It is an ironic situation," said Cindi Fukami, a labor expert and professor of management at Daniels College of Business. "The notion that people who have no stake in the protest are (the ones) marching, it's like rent-a-protester."
For the past year, the Mountain West Regional Council of Carpenters has conducted the lunch-time rallies. On most weekdays, demonstrators target one to three downtown buildings, chanting or holding banners that call attention to nonunion work being done inside.
But with construction work plentiful in Denver, it's not easy to find members to take part in the almost-daily informational pickets, said Eddie Canales, the union's director of organizing.
"We do call people who are on our out-of-work list, but right now most of our people are working," he said.
So El Centro Humanitario Para los Trabajadores, a Denver nonprofit day-labor center, provides stand-ins. The union pays them $10an hour.
"At least it is a living wage," said Harold Lasso, El Centro policy and program director. "We advocate for workers' rights, and we see that as our support for the unions."
Approximately 30 people marched in a circle outside 1560 Broadway, The Denver Post building, one day last week, chanting slogans in response to a union man wielding a bullhorn.
"Jobs," he shouted, his voice echoing off the building walls.
"With justice," they answered.
Only four were union rank-and-file. Among the El Centro stand-ins was a woman, 48, in a white stocking cap, who gave her name as September. She said she relies on the picket lines to fund a meager existence. "I do this every day," she said.
September also does housekeeping, holds signal flags at roadside construction sites and takes other jobs that pay between $5 and $10 an hour. "Something is better than nothing at all," she said.
Organizers first recruited her from El Centro after she moved to Denver from Chicago months ago. She has an apartment and is better off than some of the people in the picket line.
Michael Murphy, 44, lives at the Denver Rescue Mission. In better days he worked construction, but now he has diabetes. When an infection put him in the hospital for several months, he lost his job.
"I am trying to come back up, but I have got some health issues that don't let me hold down a job," Murphy said. He has belonged to several unions and said he believes in the cause.
"Health insurance is something we all need," he said.
Daniel Lopez, 37, is an out-of-work union member. With three children at home and another on the way, the Mexican immigrant has "almost four kids"