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Feb 24

Shame on the union cowards behind the Carpenters Local 150 banner crusades

doc burnstein's

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?

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Tribune photo by Joe Johnston

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9 comments

  1. Mark

    You are a bore.

  2. TheInsider

    Good entry, Joe. I hope the media outlets stay on this and shame these cowards out of our county and back to Camarillo. I wonder if they could find out some of the members names and interview them too, to see if they even understand the ‘issues’ and illegitimacy of the protests.

    The fact that this sham union doesn’t even have union-paid staff working the picket lines is the definition of hypocrisy. Even THEY can’t afford the union wages? Hilarious! And unions wonder why the general public hates unions…?

  3. Joe

    Insider: Thanks, good comments.

    Mark: I appreciate your exceptionally thoughtful and constructive criticism and am glad I only took 15 — and not 16 — keystrokes out of your busy day.

  4. David Middlecamp

    Mark could have trimmed to 14 by using a contraction. How do you hire a carpenter if they don’t pick up the phone?

  5. Chrissy

    I agree with Mark. :)

  6. Mildly Annoyed

    When is someone going to make a white banner equal to or bigger than theirs and stand two feet in front of them on the sidewalk???

  7. Jae

    I agree that a lot of us have had to take jobs we don’t want to make ends meat. But where does it stop. A dollar less here a dollar less there. Then we are all working for minimum wages. I am currently seeing how buisness are lowering the price on all workers but not themselves.

  8. Mrs. Journeyman

    And exactly just what would you say if you took the time to actually go to their office…funny, I never have a problem finding someone there to answer the phone or see when I show up…Too bad the non-union contractor’s don’t pay pensions, benefits or a decent days’ wages. Checked any legal work status lately? How would YOU like to be #1,926 on the “out-of’work” list for the past 7 months with 25 years’ experience?…and exactly WHO is performing this work, non-union? Sub-standard low pay, low quality or nepotistic companies…that’s who. The only ones getting any benefits are the contractors and the business owners…Bienvenidos, welcome to the problem as to why we have illegal workers here…they’ll work for 1/4 the pay and apparently, there are plenty of farm owners and contractors ready to save a buck! Too bad and shame on you for not supporting peaceful protest. You’d have us all be renters instead of homeowners, depending on government hand-outs, right? God Bless America!

  9. Mr. Man

    Mrs. Journeyman,

    Some of us are business owners and still rent. Nice that you are (apparently) able to afford a house on your union salary. You make general (blanket) statements about who happens to be working the construction jobs lately. News flash; the construction industry has almost completely dried up. The fact is that NOBODY is working those jobs anymore because they just don’t exist. You shame people for being against “peaceful protest” however; you are completely missing the point. Those peaceful protestors are protesting a business that has never even hired any Carpenters; they had nothing to do with the hiring of Carpenters at the Santa Maria Town Center Mall. The truth is that their protest against Doc Burnstein’s Ice Cream Lab was a complete sham and what most would consider defamation of character. The Carpenters Local 150 did do one thing very well; they pissed off the entire community and managed to drum up more business for Doc Burnstein’s. People such as myself came from miles around to buy the best tasting ice cream and exact some very sweet revenge on these gangsters.

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