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Shame on the Carpenters?

By Eric Richardson
Published: Friday, October 27, 2006, at 02:48PM
Carpenters' Union Says Shame on Everyone Eric Richardson [Flickr]

Earlier today one of the guys I work with asked me "So what's the deal with that labor dispute with the Roosevelt?" He had seen the sign outside on 7th street, where it's been held for the past few days.

It was an easy answer: "There isn't one."

You've more than likely seen these same signs all over. "Shame on XXXXX" in big red letters, with "Labor Dispute" in black around the edges. I know there have been two active just in Downtown over the past week or so: one at the Roosevelt and one in front of Pegasus.

All of these signs seem to be the result of a single union: the Carpenters.

The practice of having a couple people standing out in front of a building with a sign is called "Bannering." The signs take issue with the building owner, but in fact the dispute is between the Carpenters' Union and contractors.

Basically the building owner picks a contractor to perform the needed work. In the case of the Roosevelt that appears to be a company named Urban Builders. That contractor then finds and hires subcontractors to do various areas of work. The Carpenters' Union takes umbrage to these contractors hiring subcontracting firms that aren't using union labor. They banner the building or tenant to try and guilt them into putting some pressure on the contractor.

The people you see out in front holding up the banner aren't striking workers. Instead they're either a union member between jobs or more likely just someone getting paid minimum wage to stand there on the sidewalk.

This isn't even just an LA thing or even just a California thing. The Union uses the exact same banners in Utah, Arizona and perhaps elsewhere.

While I understand what the Union's trying to do, I certainly think this is a shady way of going about things. It preys on a sympathetic public by being less than forward about what the actual situation is.

When's someone going to go set up next to the sign holders with a banner reading "Shame on the Carpenters?"


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