In psychology, the definition of ‘shame’ refers to humiliation so painful and embarrassment so deep that the entire self worth of the human is called into question.
It is a powerful word that carries a damaging accusation; so much so that forms of public humiliation such as stocks and pillory were constitutionally considered cruel and unusual punishment…that is, unless you are a member of the Carpenters Local 150.
When you see them, do you cringe for that individual being called out in shame? Or do you make an assumption that the company must not be treating its employees fairly, unconsciously assigning blame, even though you know nothing about the issue at hand?
I was guilty of the above…until I saw the name of someone I knew and respected being called out in this act of public humiliation. So, I stopped to ask the sign holder what egregious anti-union behavior this respected business leader had performed. Turns out, the bearers of the banners are not allowed to speak to the public or answer any questions about the nature of the accusations or suggested malfeasance.
But they will hand you a neon-colored flyer with an incredibly bad drawing of a large rat chewing on what looks like an American flag inside an outline of a house, shaming the individual “For Desecration of the American Way of Life.”
Now, when I think of last years’ La Presidenta of Fiesta, her tireless service to the community, her tribute to the fire and police response to the wildfires, her leadership as a founder and President of Business First Bank, her role model and mentoring of young men and women in Santa Barbara, I have a kick in the gut reaction to anyone suggesting that Joanne Funari is responsible for the desecration of the American way of life.
She’s in pretty good company because just down the street, Robert Andrews, partner in the prestigious law firm, Mullen and Henzell, is being called out as well, for “…contributing to erosion of area standards for local carpenter craft workers.” Who would have thought that these two civic leaders were responsible for robbing the Carpinteria-based branch of the Southwest Regional Council of Carpenters the joys of wielding a hammer and saw!
Truth is, they aren’t.
What they are apparently ‘guilty’ of is having had a seat on the board of Trustees of the Goleta Valley and Cottage Hospital Foundation. With that damning accusation of impropriety, I decided to inquire further as to their role in this heinous act of labor injustice that would result in the public shaming by ‘bannering.’
Here’s some of the text and claims of the flyer:
“Carpenters 150 has a labor dispute with CA Hoffman, a sub-contractor for the HBE Corporation on the Goleta Valley Cottage Hospital expansion project… CA Hoffman does not meet area labor standards, including providing or fully paying for family health care and pension for all of its carpenter craft employees…In our opinion, the community ends up paying the tab for employee health care and the low wages paid tend to lower general community standards, thereby encouraging crime and other social ills.”
Wow, if these two local benefactors are encouraging “crime and other social ills,” then the Santa Barbara police force had better whip out their nail guns and go make an arrest! C’mon, that’s a bit of bridging the truth, even for those in the construction trades. To put these claims into perspective, if the quality of the Carpenter’s Local 150 workmanship was reflected by the reality of their accusations, their framing projects would fall flat in the first Santa Barbara breeze.
But ‘truth’ isn’t what Carpenters Local 150 seems to thrive on.
According to New Times San Luis Obispo paper, lawsuits were brought a couple of years back against this same group of silent shamers and its leader, Joseph Duran, by SVC Quality Care medical clinic of Valencia and Drywall Dynamics of Paso Robles. The National Labor Relations Board upheld that the ‘bannering’ practice violated federal labor laws, but the Ninth Circuit Court ruled on appeal that, “despite some fuzzy public perception,” it non-the-less qualified as an expression of free speech.
The practice of public shaming- base, at best, on spurious inferences, came to a halt in Arroyo Grande, when Doc Burnstein’s Ice Cream Lab opened his business in the Santa Maria Town Center. Owner Greg Steinberger, whose only connection to carpentry was the construction of his frozen desserts had selected a mall where some of the renovation work had been performed by non-union carpenters.
The community’s response to the Local 150’s “shame on you” campaign against the ice cream store was to turn the tables, and lead a very public protest against the banner bearers. According to the SLO paper, members from the Tri County Building and Construction Trades Council bought and donated Doc Burnstein’s ice cream to residents to support the notion that the Carpenters Local 150 apparently had brain freeze.
So, what will we do in our sometimes laizzez-faire, sometimes prickly community of Santa Barbara? Will we allow these human robots who are forbidden to speak, but hold giant banners of misinformation and character assassination to litter our sidewalks?
Will we call the number listed for Carpinteria’s Local 150: (805) 484-8825 and respectfully ask that they instead, use their carpenter skills to drive a nail in the coffin of these protests? Or should we form a protest line and stand in front of the banners so that no one can see them?
I’m sure we can do something…but at the very least, we should ask to see the ‘union bug’ stamp which appears on any printed item to indicating the work was done in a union shop. Or don’t they support their organized labor ‘brothers’?
Until we find a way to suggest they take their sleazy campaign elsewhere, here’s my banner:
SHAME ON YOU, JOSEPH DURAN, AND CARPENTERS LOCAL 150…and shame on me, for not investigating sooner.