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Michigan Unions Use Astro-Turf Protests to Intimidate Businesses

Thanks to one carpenters union (the Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters), some areas in Michigan can report an increase in manufacturing.  Just one small problem here, they are manufacturing only:

  • Threats
  • Intimidation
  • Protest signs

Imagine that you are a business owner and the local union demands that you reveal the private payroll data of your 120 non-union employees within a week.  If you choose not to answer this demand, the union will consider you to be obviously “paying substandard wages and benefits.”

In addition to that proclamation from the Union, your customers will be notified by mail that a labor dispute exists between the union and your company and that any job sites where you have contract to perform work will be subjected to protests in the form of 'bannering' and the distribution of leaflets.

Got it?

  • The union has targeted a non-union business.
  • They demand that the business allow the union to examine private payroll records, or else.
  • Customers of the business are also targeted with on-site protests with banners and picket lines (often staffed with non-union day labor being paid less than union wages and not afforded health benefits).

This has happened, and in fact is an ongoing story.

The Mackinac Center for Public Policy, has brought to light the attempted strong-arm tactics of the Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters in a story by Ken Braun.

Video #1 offers the overview of the story:

Video #2 backs up the charge that the Carpenters Union is using astro-turf tactics, hiring non-union day laborers, paying these workers less than union wages and not offering benefits.

The unions should note that the unemployment rate in Michigan (from where this story originates) is still sitting at 11.3%, almost 2 1/2 points higher than the national average.

According to a statistic quoted in the Mackinac Center piece, more than 78% of the carpenters in Michigan are non-union workers, and the company under attack claims their 120 employees have not complained about wages, benefits or employer treatment. This appears to be nothing more than union bullying.

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