Unions Run It up the Flagpole

Union protest
Unions protest a business whose employees do not choose to be unionized.

A new labor union tactic targeting non-union business owners has come into the Mackinac Center’s sights. Communications Specialist Kathy Hoekstra produced a video explaining the recent trend of “bannering,” put into practice in Michigan by the Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters.

As a result of a recent court ruling, unions are allowed to demonstrate against a non-unionized company, even one whose employees are happy not to belong to a union.

Hoekstra’s video featured an interview with a West Michigan contractor who found himself a victim of this tactic. Hoekstra and her video camera also tracked down a union protest in progress outside a Grand Rapids hospital. Her questions to a union official at the scene of that protest revealed even more about how far the carpenters union will go to disrupt honest business practices.

Hoekstra followed up with a second video revealing the underhandedness of the carpenters union in outsourcing its picketing to non-union workers — from Grand Rapids-area homeless shelters supported by the targeted business, no less.

Representatives of the trade group Associated Builders and Contractors of Michigan were so impressed with Hoekstra’s videos that they plan to show them at their upcoming national convention in Florida. ABC-MI hopes to raise awareness of this tactic and find ways to address it to preserve the credibility and prosperity of its job-providing members.

In the meantime, the story, also covered in Michigan Capitol Confidential, quickly spread through the blogosphere, with links landing on such diverse websites as the Huffington Post, the American Thinker and the Washington Examiner.

Over 40,000 people have watched the videos, which are available at www.mackinac.org/14571.