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Shame on You Carpenters Local 150

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.

There are massive white vinyl banners with super-sized red lettering held silently popping up in front of businesses, calling on passers-by to join the public condemnation.

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.

10 Responses to “Shame on You Carpenters Local 150”

  1. el_smurfo

    The reason they aren’t allowed to talk to you is because they are generally imported “professional” wankers…They may not even know what they are supposed to be protesting that day, which makes them like every other person who passes except for those named on the banners. If you hadn’t written this column, I still wouldn’t have a clue who these people are or what they did “wrong”, but my impression of the campaign would remain the same…moronic.

  2. Class Envy

    These are the best advertisements for the state of employee union corruption out there. All you have to do next is follow the union money to the candidate of their choice – easy to do because the money they spend to get more union-friendly legislators is massive.

    Find out what you will really be voting for – more union thuggery — and cast your vote accordingly. If you like this corrupt thuggery, if you like the majority of your tax dollars going to more public employee union perks, salaries and benefits, then you know where to put the X on your ballot. If you want to break union thuggery, throw these bums out.

    You can starve union thuggery at the ballot box. The reason they are attacking Cottage Hospital is because this was a privately funded building campaign and not required like government building projects to be slaves to union demands. I think most people still do not know how much of their tax money now goes to soak up insatiable union contract demands. Cottage Hospital defied them.

    This malicious union public “shame” attack is the price they now pay. But all it has done so far, just like the union attack against the NewsPress, is create far more bad publicity against union thuggery. So let them continue to expose themselves for what they really are. We welcome their public stupidity.

    The whole 99% vs 1% hate campaign class warfare is all union-fueled too. Don’t be their willing dupe.

  3. I saw this coming a mile away. Take such a wealthy political power like cottage, mix in some bad publicity and some greedy union bosses…. wha-la!
    In keeping with tradition, I’d like to offer my services as a paid protestor. What’s the going rate these days for that “occupation”?
    Pardon the pun, but good journalism deserves good reviews. Thanks L

  4. The more you learn about this tactic, the more disgusted you are with the Carpenter’s Union. This tactic is so out of line, other unions are trying to stop it. Unfortunately the NLRB, the Federal agency tasked with stopping such illegal union action, did nothing and is filled with career union lawyers. The NLRB dismissed the case filed by Doc Burnstein’s Ice Cream Lab 11 months after filing, stating that ‘since the business had no direct dealings with any carpenter work nor any influence with anyone who did have carpenter work being done, it was not considered picketing and thus not illegal picketing’.

    I would love to share with anyone how Doc Burnstein’s and its community worked together to shame this union tactic out of its community. But it was not easy.

    • Nuevo-Repub

      Counter-picket demanding no one hires union carpenters.

      Or counter-picket “Shame on Union Harrassment”.

      Free Speech and Freedom of Assembly and all that is good for everyone, not just paid union lackies.

  5. Spark555

    So let me get this right?

    A labor union from Camarillo is mad at failing to get openly-competitive contracts in Santa Barbara, claiming “shame” on the competitors for using low-wage labor who might have inferior benefits, so the LABOR UNION goes and does EXACTLY what they’re whining about, hires low wage workers to stand around holding signs attacking the owners of the businesses who supposedly need to be “shamed” for hiring the contractor who was willing to do the best work for the lowest bid?

    Perhaps we should hire some low wage labor workers to hold a “IRONY” banner in front of local 150’s HQ’s and make sure the sign holders also have no idea what the issue is too?

  6. Facade

    Getting the best value for the buck is the American way. Pretending union membership guarantees quality is unfounded.

  7. Guys, Santa Barbara has the unsafest standard. The owners of SB companies have no idea how it should be, and clearly will not until woken up

    YOUNG CONSTRUCTION: Operating like a bunch of luck-struck cowboys. Check out their jobs. Talk to their slickly dressed people. Bunch of rich developers who will try to convince you that ADA codes don’t really matter.

  8. Santa Barbara

    Right? They are attempting to behave on their Milpas job. Elsewhere, and their history tells; they are overdue for a lawsuit or a fine.