Santa Barbara Politics, Media & Culture

Friday, August 17, 2007

Other Union Action in Santa Barbara Overlooked!

Here's something from the Carpenter's Union about the brand new Ruth's Chris Steakhouse -- overlooked because of the SBNP hearings. Hasn't shown up in any newspaper or TV news that I know of.

Here's a Flyer Written by Carpenter's Union

For Desecration of the American Way of Life
(There’s a drawing of a rat eating an American flag, and the text below reads:)
A rat is a contractor that does not pay all of its employees prevailing wages, including either providing or making payments for health care and pension benefits.

Shame on Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse for contributing to erosion of area standards for carpenter craft workers. Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse uses Scott Winter Construction to do the metal stud/drywall construction at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse located in Santa Barbara, California. Scott Winter Construction does not meet area labor standards for all their carpenter craft workers, including fully paying for family health benefits and pension.

Carpenters Local 150 objects to substandard wage employers like Scott Winter Construction working in the community. In our opinion the community ends up paying the tab for employee health care and low wages tend to lower general community standards, thereby encouraging crime and other social ills.

Carpenters Local 150 believes that Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse has an obligation to the community to see that area labor standards are met for construction work at all their projects, including any future work. They should not be allowed to insulate themselves behind “independent” contractors. For this reason Local 150 has a labor dispute with all the companies identified here.


The members and families of Carpenters Local 150 thank you for your support. Call (805) 482-1905 for further information.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Union thugs and blackmail. Nothing new hear or worth listening to or supporting.

8/18/2007 9:35 AM  
Anonymous eight santa barbara said...

When I see things like this, which happen all the time, and when I see the current council do nothing about the exploitation of migrant workers who are uninformed about their rights and responsibilities, I continue to believe this is not a Progressive Council.

The post talks about 'independent contractors' and uses quotes to describe them. It is true that many companies hire people to perform work, especially migrant labor, and claim that the employees are 'independent'. The IRS says, in a simple explanation, that if you control the means to execute a task, then you are a boss, and you are necessarily directing 'employees' and not 'independents'. But that is hardly the case with construction jobs by a number of companies here and elsewhere. The tools, procedures, day-to-day workload, daily direction of which tasks to complete, and work that is not 'job-specific' or based upon estimates and outcomes, makes these employees.

It is important to distinguish between the two: employees are entitled to overtime, worker's comp, Social Security/Medicaid and the rest of the FICA contributions by EMPLOYERS, as well as a hot of other workplace safety regulations. By blatantly ignoring the law, these construction companies are avoiding proper wages, proper safety, proper tax contributions for the employees. Independents do not receive the same protections in most cases.

It is even worse that because of the use of migrant labor, the workers themselves fear doing anything because they could be deported. Though they could be paid properly, they avoid any confrontation, avoid rocking the boat. Even workers who are US citizens would rather not say or do anything because they would rather keep a job than ask for what they deserve. This, more than anything, shows the exploitation brought upon hundreds of workers by companies such as those in the post.

Back to the City Council.

They do nothing to ensure that employers like these are paying what they should. They set up a pick up, known as 'the wall', and let things go freely. Where is the City Council policy to track employers who do this and that ensures workers are paid properly and treated with fairness and safety?

And with all the outcry over the Council's relationships with Police, Fire and Public Employee Unions, people forget that the Council does little or nothing to support the Unions for the private sector employees in the City. This is on top of the lack of policy to deal with non-Union workers in the City.

Where is this City Council on matters that affect workers?

With these things going on right under the noses of the current council, with City policy set up in a way that allows these things to happen, this is one more reason why it can be said with utmost confidence that this is far from a Progressive Council.

Just in case I hadn't mentioned it, I am a registered Democrat, and I am not a candidate nor am I affiliated with any candidate. I am just tired with the offerings of supposed leadership, and knowing that 'Progressive' is little more than a label for this Council and their ardent supporters.

8/18/2007 12:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"eight Santa Barbara": have you brought anything about this to the Council and they've done nothing? Have you spoken at public comment asking for action? Has anyone? (I listen to/watch on Ch18 many of the CC meetings and have seen no one speak at the public comment about it.)

I think it is up to the Council to establish regulations for fair treatment of all workers but I don't think it's the Council's role to oversee private working relationships. Isn't that state and federal law? ...But although a Democrat, I am probably not a "progressive", whatever that is.

8/18/2007 12:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The story I got from talking to a couple of the people at the sign yesterday was that when the construction company got the bid it was based on using Santa Barbara workers, and instead they've brought up a bunch of non-union LA people to do the work. They sure weren't thugs, and they were standing out in the smoke and ash and heat trying to get their message out. No different from other undervalued working folk in this town just trying to make a decent iving, and getting undercut at every turn.

8/18/2007 2:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think if we reelect the Council and give them another year they could tackle this issue. The City should regulate ALL businesses in Santa Barbara!

8/18/2007 2:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Unions are regressive; not progressive. They do not deserve support. This is the infamous middle class everyone thinks needs to be saved.

No, union workers are in fact an artificial welfare class demanding benefits not earned providing superior services over what a scab is only happy and wiling to do instead.

You work hard and you get benefits. You don't sit around, picket and demand them. Unions are un-American. And they are reason number one the US is a declining economy. They suffocate life out of every industry they control.

8/18/2007 7:00 PM  
Anonymous eight santa barbara said...

12:52am, I've seen good movies, I've seen bad movies, I've eaten at good restaurants, I've eaten at bad restaurants. This, to me, seems like a "well, like you could do better" argument where my lack of ability necessarily precludes me from acting as a judgmental consumer, whether I am consuming goods, services, or policy. Whether I have or haven't, whether I can or can't, if all matters were dependent on ME doing something, there's a lot of things that would never get done. Leadership, especially in government, isn't about waiting for someone to put it in your face.

You're right that, perhaps, those who share this belief, myself included, should act on it. Maybe, as well, the frustration just boiled over, and you got a taste of it right there. Apologies if it sounded harsh. I will try to tame my tone and be more diplomatic about this.

2:18pm, I hope that was humor, because if it wasn't, I don't want to be the only one in the room who's laughing. ;)

8/18/2007 7:59 PM  
Anonymous First District Streetfighter said...

"Eight" is writing that the City council should start to provide rights that do not exist to illegal aliens?

The Carpenters Union is mad that the job hired scabs, likely illegal aliens, especially after the job employer promised that they would not hire scabs and instead pay the local wage rate.

So why are the bad people the Union guys?

President Teddy Roosevelt, one of the original Progressives in politics, would not have supported the hiring of illegal aliens.

Why do modern opinionists think that political progressives are bleeding liberals who want to ignore immigration laws?

8/19/2007 8:28 PM  
Anonymous eight santa barbara said...

FDS, I'm not sure if you're asking if I believe the Council should start creating rights for immigrants?

I would say that, on this issue, I would rather see that the Council sought to ensure workers are treated fairly. If this means going after employers, even suspending them from current and future contracts with the City, who hire illegals and pay them below what would be required of a US Citizen, then I support it (start by monitoring 'the wall'). If it means that the Council should do more to support Unions of all types in an effort to increase worker rights and pay, then I support it (show some support for the Carpenters on this one is a start). If it means ensuring non-Union employees are provided the rights and pay they deserve, then I support it.

In case you think non-Union workers in this town can't be exploited, take a look at the first case in this link:

When I brought up the issue of illegals, I only meant to show that illegals are often exploited by companies, and especially by construction companies. My main concern in this is that no worker is exploited, that Union wages are maintained, and that the Council doesn't allow conditions for exploitation of any worker.

Creating rights for illegals, in case I did not make it clear, is not what I meant by references to exploited illegals. I was only intending to show that illegals are exploited and used to undermine and under-bid what would otherwise be Union work.

I agree with the Carpenter's Union on this one.

8/20/2007 12:33 AM  
Blogger jqb said...

Unions brought us the 8 hour day, the 40 hour week, and child labor laws. Those who bad mouth unions are horrendously ignorant (and/or fascistic).

8/20/2007 3:40 PM  
Blogger jqb said...

"Unions are un-American."

People who use the phrase "un-American" are un-American -- that is, they are opposed to the Enlightenment principles on which this country was founded. It's no accident that another name of this country is "the Union", as in "the state of the Union" and "California joined the Union in 1850". From Wikipedia

"The federal republic known as the United States of America"

The principles of union that underlie the right of workers to form labor unions are to be found expressed in the Declaration of Independence, the preamble to the U.S. Constitution, and the First Amendment.

8/20/2007 3:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Child labor laws may have been one of the worst thing we did to our children. They grow up today with no work ethic, yet immigrant children run circles around American kids knowing if you don't work, you don't eat.

The all the sudden we demand US children at age 18 to start acting like adults. Where are the US kids bagging groceries, delivering newspapers, working at the "malt shop" etc, etc?

All immigrant kids are getting on the job experience no rich daddy is ever going to make up for his own kids with a pricey education, when the best education of all could have been instilling a work ethic while he/she was still a kid.

Maybe this is why we have all these out of work by choice NP writers still thinking someone owes them a living.

8/20/2007 9:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why does the flyer include a phone number for Ruth's Chris Steakhouse, but not a phone number for Scott Winter Construction?

8/23/2007 8:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I want to make the point that there are a plethora of restaurants employing illegal immigrants in santa barbara...why not picket for that?
Why squabble?
It makes the union look immature and ignorant. Get another job...if you don't like your profession, get another one.
It's called the REAL WORLD. I understand most of SB cannot fathom of that, but that as it may be, it's just the way it is.

10/17/2007 8:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've talked to alot of people about this. They all agree on one thing: The new Steakhouse is getting alot of free publicity! I didn't evev know it was there until I saw those people with their stupid sign. And no, it's not bad publicity either. Most rational people here don't subscribe to the Socialist Utopian Society idea of our idiot council.

In the end the Steakhouse will do very well, no matter what these union loons go and do....

10/20/2007 9:43 AM  

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