Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Homeless hired as consultants to do unions' picketting

I cannot, ever ever, blame scrappy, needy homeless people for taking whatever job they might. They do this all the time, yet suffer from the popular, terrible misconception that homeless people in Sacramento are lazy bums.

Some homeless people are lazy, of course, as are some plumbers, dentists, candlemakers and Indian chiefs. Make no mistake: There's a little of everything in Homeless World, just as there's a little of everything in every subgroup of human beings.

But it is largely the case that the Sacramento homeless are scrappy! Hooray for that. We take jobs waving furniture-store-liquidation signs on street corners for less than minimum wage, and suffer the frustration, sometimes, of never getting paid for some of the work we do. There are jobs paid under-the-counter, and wages paid months late.

This morning, homeless people, perhaps all of whom were part of the C Street encampment – they all wore dark-green Safe Ground T-shirts – were paid minimum wage to picket for four or five hours on three sides of the full-block-size county administration building at 700 H Street.

The paid picketers carried signs that read "Save County Jobs; No Consultants; ETTI/APECS." I learned subsequently that ETTI and APECS stand for Engineering Technicians/Technical Inspectors and Association of Professional Engineers, County of Sacramento.

Curious thing. ETTI and APECS are opposed to outsourcing, yet they hire stand-in picketers. May be I'm out of touch, but I've never heard of unions hiring others to do their picketting for them. Are not hired picketers Picket Scabs?

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