Jottings By An Employer's Lawyer

Monday, March 07, 2005

Outsourcing Protests: A New Beginning or Closer to the End?


Apparently you can outsource almost anything these days, including protests. At least that's the impression you get from a story in the Business Journal of Phoenix,Union's hired 'protesters' disrupting business, detailing the concerns of a number of business being subjected to union demonstrators "brandishing signs and shouting slogans" in front of their businesses. Often the relationship of the targeted businesses to the hiring of union labor is remote. For example, an upscale art gallery because it is a tenant in a building that was buitl with non-union labor.

According to the article, the local Carpenters Union hires non-union labor (at far below union wage rates) to do its organized protesting in front of the building. (Is there not some irony here? Or maybe this will spawn a new union, the PPA -- Professional Protesters of America, that's one way for the labor movement to grow!)

Ironic or not, the tactic is a problem for business and police who are fielding complaints by those not enamored with the idea. Charges are being filed with the NLRB in some cases. Over the long haul, it will be interesting to see if this is a method that works, and if it does, grows. No doubt organized labor needs to think out of the box, but whether this is a viable tactic or the death throes of a dying movement is the real question.


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