Category Archives: Carpenters

Coming to a Church Near You: Union Protesters

Cars honk at the union protesters, drivers pump their fists in solidarity, many thinking to themselves:

Those evil, greedy, profit-loving corporate bosses are always trying to take the bread and butter from the workers’ mouths!


Wait a minute!…

Those union protesters aren’t picketing the offices of some nameless corporate behemoth.

They’re picketing the church on the corner!

Why?  Because the church members dared to use their money wisely and frugally and the contractor that helped on the new addition to the church was…


…a non-union contractor!

Big Government has exposed the Carpenters’ union in California protesting the Grace Baptist Church in Bakersfield…

In Bakersfield, California the local carpenters union is protesting the Grace Baptist Church for hiring a contractor who hired non-union labor. Grace Baptist Church had no control over who the contractor hired. You would think the local carpenters union would take a pass at protesting a church, but I guess not. Though the church greeted the protesters with water, coffee, cookies and candy. Do they feel bad for standing in front of a church with a “Shame On the Grace Baptist Church”?  No.

Of course, by watching the video below, there’s no telling if the union protesters are real union members or if the Carpenters outsourced the protesting jobs.  However, it does appear to be the same Carpenters’ union local that protested outside an ice cream store in nearby Arroyo Grande.

“When there’s no more room in hell, the dead shall walk the earth.” George Romero


“I bring reason to your ears, and, in language as plain as ABC, hold up truth to your eyes.” Thomas Paine, December 23, 1776

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Shameless unions using day laborers to do their dirty work

We’ve written before about the trend of some unions to outsource their picketing to the homeless to avoid having their own members do “union work” (i.e., picket).  While the practice dates back to (at least) 2007, despite the attention (which includes a NPR broadcast on the topic), apparently unions don’t seem quite ready to give up the shameful practice.

Bret Jacobson has posted an interesting story today on Big Government about the Carpenters’ union in New Mexico harassing businesses, using ‘day laborers’ to picket and, in this case, one company that decided to fight back with its own website.  As writer Jacobson notes:

So temp employees without benefits are being hired by a union to protest a company that offers good wages and benefits? As Tony The Tiger would say, GRRREEEEEAAAAT.


“I bring reason to your ears, and, in language as plain as ABC, hold up truth to your eyes.”
Thomas Paine, December 23, 1776

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A PSA from LUR: Buy an Ice Cream Cone & Make a Union Boss Mad

This is a long post for no other reason than to give you a flavor (so to speak) of the nature of today’s unions.

Normally, public service announcements aren’t something we do, but we couldn’t pass on this one:

If you happen to be passing through Arroyo Grande, California, Doc Burnstein’s Ice Cream Lab is an old fashioned ice cream parlor owned by 46-year old Navy vet Greg Steinberger that, according to the LA Times, also happens to be the target of union “bannering”…Not for something Mr. Steinberger has done directly mind you, but because he is opening a store in a mall that has used a non-union drywall company.

For years, the owner of Arroyo Grande’s old-fashioned ice cream parlor has likened the Central Coast community to Bedford Falls, the friendly little burg in the Jimmy Stewart film “It’s a Wonderful Life.”

So he bristled when an out-of-town labor union unfurled a 15-foot-wide banner — “Shame on Doc Burnstein’s Ice Cream Lab” — across from his business on cafe-lined West Branch Street.

Even more upsetting to Greg Steinberger was the flier showing a rat gnawing on a tattered American flag: It charged him with “desecration of the American way of life.”

And most galling to the 46-year-old Navy veteran was that the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America had targeted him over the allegedly low wages of a company he says he had never even heard of.

“I don’t know what it’ll take to get them to go away,” said Steinberger, who, in labor jargon, has been “bannered” since Oct. 30. “I’ve got customers coming in here asking, ‘Are you in trouble? Aren’t you paying minimum wage?’ “


In Arroyo Grande, paid sign-minders* stand beside the banner across the street from Doc Burnstein’s four days a week, sometimes shielded from the sun by blue-and-white umbrellas.

According to the fliers, the carpenters are bannering Doc Burnstein’s because Steinberger plans to open an outlet in a renovated Santa Maria mall where a nonunion drywall company “does not meet area labor standards . . . including fully paying for family health benefits and pensions.” A gymnastics studio in Santa Maria is getting the same treatment.


Representatives of Camarillo-based Carpenters Local 150, which is bannering Doc Burnstein’s, did not return phone calls. But the ice cream parlor’s fans have been vocal about wishing the carpenters a rocky road.

“I told one of them, ‘If you’re not going to hell, I don’t know who is,’ ” Lynette Navarro said. “Imagine hurting an ice cream guy whose crime is daring to sign a lease at the mall!”


After the bannering began, irate customers wanted to mount a counter-protest. Steinberger said he consented only because the union action continued through one of his bimonthly blood drives.

“That just really ticked me off,” said Steinberger, who offers a pint of ice cream to every blood donor.

Some two dozen sign-wielding Doc Burnstein’s supporters showed up. Navarro, owner of a Grover Beach awning company, donated a banner as big as the union’s: “We [heart] Doc Burnstein’s! No Labor Dispute!” A union representative came to heckle, according to Steinberger, and to videotape the protesters’ reactions.

It’s hard to tell, Steinberger said, whether the bannering has slowed his business. But Gabe Segura, owner of the action’s primary target — United Drywall Systems — said it’s hurting his 10-employee company.

“They’ve threatened, they manipulated, they’ve gone to my employees’ house at night, asking for copies of check stubs,” Segura said. “They want to deter people from using us, and there’s definitely certain jobs that don’t want the publicity.” [Emphasis added.]

So, if you ever happen to be passing through Arroyo Grande, CA and get the hankering for an ice cream cone, Doc Burnstein’s is dishing it out at 114 W. Branch Street, Arroyo Grande, CA 93420.

[* Note: Rather than doing its own picketing or ‘sign minding,’ it appears that the Carpenters’ union has hired picketers (or “sign minders”), which seems to be its modus operandi.]

“I bring reason to your ears, and, in language as plain as ABC, hold up truth to your eyes.” Thomas Paine December 23, 1776

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With Apparently No Union to Save Them, Chicago’s Carpenters’ Union Lays Off Dozens of Organizers

Never, ever let someone tell you unions aren’t a business–they are.  In fact, even though unions rake in more than $10 billion per year from workers’ dues, when times are tough, like many other businesses out there, unions lay off their employees too.

A case in point:

Though unions are usually fighting against job cuts, one Chicago union recently issued layoff notices to its own employees.

Effective Jan. 1, the Chicago Regional Council of Carpenters laid off 58 organizers -– the majority of its full-time organizing staff.

The positions were eliminated as a cost-saving move for the union at a time when there’s not much work to organize, according to Frank Libby, president of the council, a union consortium based at 12 E. Erie St. in Chicago.

“We still have the organizing department running, but there’s not a whole lot going on out there. The residential field has hit rock bottom,” Libby said. “With the lack of income coming in and the lack of jobs out there, it’s a double-edged sword.”

The layoffs could save the union well over $1 million, based on 2008 salary figures filed with the U.S. Department of Labor. However, Libby said he could not immediately provide financial details.

The role of an organizer is to find nonunion work sites and persuade the contractors and carpenters to join the union. Some workers fear that nonunion construction could increase because of the layoffs.

According to its reports to the Department of Labor, the Chicago District Council of Carpenters lists a lot of union salesmen organizers who made six-figure salaries in 2009.  The top union bosses, on the other hand, drew in as much as one quarter of a million in 2009.
One interesting note to the union lay offs is the fact that the District Council, according to its government reports, paid  $732,076 to buy cars in 2009.

It just goes to show you, union are no different than so many of the businesses they criticize.
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Filed under Carpenters, union hyposcrisy, union layoffs, union organizers, United Bortherhood of Carpenters