Labor Costs

Hundreds of union members attended a rally in Toledo, Ohio, to express their opposition to Issue 2, next month’s referendum that would restrict public employee collective bargaining.

That’s why most of them were there, but some members of the United Food & Commercial Workers Local 75 were there to pick up an easy $40, which is what their union pays members to show up at rallies.

There is much to criticize about such a policy, but I have a different set of questions than most commenters would have, I think. Like, how did UFCW arrive at the sum of $40? Was it after negotiations with the members? Who decided it was a fair amount? Why isn’t it $45? Or $60? Suppose the affected members demanded a larger stipend? Would UFCW meekly shell it out? Would union officers bargain them down to a lower price? Would they plead budget cuts and good stewardship of member dues and stick to $40? Or would they act unilaterally, stop the practice completely, and defy the members’ demands? Would they consider the members ingrates for asking for more money?

Ultimately, UFCW may find that the cost of paying members to attend political rallies comes at too high a price. Fortunately, there is an alternative. They can hire non-union labor.

Bad joke, right? Well, it would be if UFCW didn’t already have a precedent for it.