I have had it up to here with Carpenters Local 150, the careless union based in Camarillo that has been littering our streets with their ugly, inflammatory banners and do-nothing workers.
This is the group that unwisely took on a beloved local ice cream shop over construction hiring it had no control over, urging people to boycott Doc Burnstein’s because of non-union labor the group claims was used by the owner of the Santa Maria Town Center, where the Arroyo Grande business plans to open a second location.
Doc Burnstein’s has been the most celebrated case, but it’s only one of many.
The latest is going on in Atascadero, where this carpenters union is now protesting outside the Atascadero Mutual Water Co., in opposition to Paso Robles’ Drywall Dynamics, which was hired by JW Design & Construction of San Luis Obispo to do work for the water provider.
Again, the union is targeting local businesses through a convoluted path of supposed gripes and grudges over “area labor standards” and other other hiring issues.
This comes on top of the San Luis Obispo protests against Meathead Movers on South Higuera Street and Holiday Inn Express on Monterey.
If the union had a legitimate issue, it would be one thing, but it each case, Carpenters Local 150 has chosen to take a wholly spineless approach to its strategy, which is: They refuse to talk about their complaints.
After sending a letter warning the business of the impending protest, they then dispatch their strike team of sign-sitters, who pitch their “shame on you” banner at a nearby public location then proceed to waste untold hours standing like useless lumps under their little umbrellas.
When the business tries to respond to the union, they hear nothing.
When the media makes calls to the union, we hear nothing.
Earlier this month, the L.A. Times even tried to get these cowards on the record, to no avail.
In essence, Carpenters Local 150 has established a routine of lobbing very visible and pervasive scatter-shot accusations while they run and hide in some closet in Camarillo, letting the answering machine pick up the phone every time it rings.
If you’re going to issue charges that call into question someone else’s integrity, have the respect and decency to back them up, especially when the real target of the complaint may be several steps removed from the business actually receiving the bannering.
The fact that no one is around to be accountable is utterly unacceptable and amounts to little more than juvenile bullying from a supposedly professional organization.
Saying as much are other union members in the AFL-CIO, which is treating the community to free ice cream at Doc Burnstein’s from 1 to 6 p.m. on Friday as a show of support for the business and a show of condemnation for the carpenters’ tactics.
Big props go out to the members of the Tri-Counties Building & Construction Trades Council for this offer.
If that’s not enough, bear in mind that all of this nastiness conjured up by the carpenters union is occurring in a still-brutal employment environment, following a nasty recession, plunging home values, foreclosures and the like.
For many people — perhaps some taking these non-union jobs — any work is good work and the difference between food on the table or no food, a home or homelessness.
Carpenters Local 150 might want to consider this reality a bit more, might want to consider its timing again, might want to consider other factors that erode the effectiveness of its playbook of protest techniques.
The only shame in these cases does not lay at the feet of the targeted businesses and workers.
It’s goes squarely on the narrow shoulders of the union members at Carpenters Local 150.
If you want to let them have it yourself, call 484-8825, but don’t be surprised if they neglect to answer.
What do you think about the carpenters’ banner crusades? Share your thoughts here?
Tribune photo by Joe Johnston
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