Subadhra Sriram's Blog

When Picketers are Temps

Temp worker flexibility has been stretched to a whole new level.  Here’s how it goes down.

There’s a strike to protest a lack of benefits. Union A hires temps to dissent alongside picketing union members.  Of course these workers don’t receive benefits, either.

Union A’s company also hires temps to replace the employees out striking. (In the past, this has been a common practice.)

But now, workers are being paid to stand up for rights. It’s not the cause or the desire to seek redress from maltreatment that is drawing these protesters. It’s the money.

The real kicker is that it’s okay and legal to do so.  Organizers of a recent protest against Walmart offered the retailer’s employees $50 each to show up and protest. The gift cards, however, were only for Walmart employees.

National Labor Relations Board lawyers okayed a major union's practice of paying people to protest against Walmart in a legal memorandum earlier in November. The federal labor law enforcement agency said the practice of paying workers $50 apiece to join protests “did not constitute unlawful … coercion of employees.”

The irony, however, is that the media reporting on recent protests, including against Walmart, found few actual employees among the protesters, despite the offer of money according to the news media.

But being paid to protest a cause? It rings wrong, somehow.  Picketers have been seen as crusaders, standing up for what they believe in, braving the elements, fighting the establishment, often starving and even jailed for their beliefs. Using low-paid non-union temps as dissenters seems morally wrong.

On the other hand, jobs are scarce and people need to eat. If “protesting” for a few hours means money for both the worker and the staffing firm, why say no? It’s business, after all. And recent developments seem to indicate that this could be a growing trend. What do you think?  Comment below.

Comments

Add New Comment

Post comment

NOTE: Links will not be clickable.
Security text:*

Recent Blog Posts

SOW: It’s Here, There and Everywhere

If buyers love it, can staffing firms be far behind? No, I am not talking about customers’ appetite for cutting costs, but rather the fascination with anything SOW — statement of work consultants.

This... Read More

Source Smart: The Deck is Stacked in favor of the “Skilled” Worker

We’ve all heard the stories about how hard it is to get talent and how there’s a war raging for these qualified professionals. The take-away from this is the word qualified. Qualified professionals... Read More

Healthcare Industry Evolution Is Good News for All

So much is still being said about the Affordable Care Act that people are glazing over some important realities.

In 2014, 13 million more people under the age of 65 are becoming insured. And by 2023 that... Read More

Have Cool Website, Will Attract Talent

A recent Staffing Industry Analysts report revealed that, on average, staffing firm management gave their websites a grade of just 5.6/10. That’s a C. But some websites outperformed, and we learned something... Read More

Buyers Beware: You Can’t Avoid ACA Costs

Who’s on the hook for bearing the additional costs of healthcare reform? Buyers and suppliers see the ACA price saga unfolding quite differently.

Buyers of staffing services assert that they are not going... Read More

Our 2013 Staffing Heroes

I would like to draw your attention to the Staffing 100 2013 list.

Our annual list of industry dynamos is a guide to those who shape the growing $134 billion staffing industry. They are our movers and shakers,... Read More

Staffing Industry Alive and Kicking

A decade ago, the U.S. staffing industry was projected to boom pretty much without end. Fantastic long-term growth was projected and an ever increasing share of U.S. employment was expected to be managed... Read More

Our Affair with Online Staffing

Late last year, Staffing Industry Analysts was accused of having a crush on the online staffing segment. But 10 months have since elapsed, and I have to say that more and more it feels like we... Read More

Everyone’s Talking Contingent

Welcome to the 2013 CW Solutions Forum and CWS Summit, our biggest ever. Eight years after the first conference, the Summit has become the networking event for CW professionals. So what does this “biggest... Read More