Hypocrisy Knows No Bounds

Unions seem to spend much of their time these days railing against companies that don’t pay high enough wages and don’t provide health benefits. They try to force these companies by law to pay health benefits and higher wages. When companies respond that they cannot afford to stay in business unless they control their labor costs, union activists scoff. They see employers as nothing more than greedy capitalist pigs.

But what do unions do when they are the employer, when they hire people?

Well, McClatchy newspapers reports that unions in Washington, Baltimore, and Atlanta are hiring homeless people to stand in their picket lines, paying barely above minimum wage and not providing any health benefits. One employee explained that the union won’t let her work more than 20 hours a week. She brings home only $180 a week before taxes. And while she gets two-minute breaks, her pay is docked for that time.

Funny, union bosses responded much as other employers. AFL-CIO President John Sweeney said he saw nothing wrong with unions hiring non-union labor, nor providing zero benefits. George Eisner, a union leader in Baltimore, said, “We’re giving jobs to people who didn’t have jobs, people who in some cases couldn’t secure work.”

Neil Bernstein, a professor specializing in labor and employment law, pointed out the obvious: “They’re basically doing what they’re criticizing the employers for doing — getting the cheapest people to do the job.”

Hypocrisy knows no bounds.

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in Common Sense are Paul Jacob’s and may not necessarily represent the position of Americans for Limited Government, Americans for Limited Government Foundation, U.S. Term Limits or the U.S. Term Limits Foundation. Paul’s Common Sense commentaries are heard on radio stations nationwide and on the Internet.