Plumbers' Union Rips "Joe the Plumber": Stop Carrying Water for Corporate Union-Busters!
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This, via Greg Sargent, is hilarious [HT: Brad Reed]:
The Plumbers Union is steaming over the news that Joe the Plumber has been enlisted by groups opposed to the Employee Free Choice Act to campaign at a number of Pennsylvania rallies against the measure.
A Plumbers Union official tells me that Joe is “selling out real plumbers.”
I checked in with Rick Terven, the political and legislative director for The United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipe Fitting Industry of the United States and Canada. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist sharing the full name.) He tore into his high-profile plumber colleague as follows:
Joe the plumber is selling out real plumbers. Right now, labor law is stacked against real plumbers. Real plumbers want and need the Employee Free Choice Act as a way to empower themselves to join a union, without fear of intimidation or losing their jobs. Joe the Plumber doesn’t speak for real plumbers.
Terven claimed that the Plumbers Union, which says it has over 300,000 members, had done a survey of non-union plumbers finding that 70% of them wanted to join a union if they could do so without fear of retribution, though I couldn’t immediately get the details of their survey.
The larger story here is the battle over who really speaks for working people on this issue — the unions, or the groups against EFCA, some of which are bankrolled by business, who claim that they oppose EFCA because it’s bad for workers.
I guess right-wing pseudo-populism makes for some strange bedfellows.
Joshua Holland is an editor and senior writer at AlterNet.