It’s not a pretty sight, brothers and sisters, when union tangles with union, but that’s the picture nonetheless in the Port Richmond section of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the carpenter’s union is sawing off the food worker’s union over a proposal to construct a 135,000 s.f. Wal-Mart on the site of an abandoned paper factory. The carpenters union says the new store means more jobs for carpenters, but the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1776 told the Inquirer “the jobs are going to be gone.” The carpenter’s union Local 1856, says that Wal-Mart told them union workers would build the store. The carpenters said that just because Wal-Mart is criticized for being an anti-union company, they should still be allowed to go ahead with this store.
The Port Richmond location will require a zoning change, which no developer is entitled to. Rezoning is not “as of right”, and neighbors can object to such impacts as traffic, effect on surrounding properties, compatibility with the Comprehensive plan, etc.
I have seen union attack union over big box stores. I can recall being heckled on a picket line when I marched in support of the United Food and Commercial Workers. The building trades union was yelling at the UFCW members at a protest demonstration in Quincy, Massachusetts. Meanwhile Wal-Mart has run into trouble in Chicago and Louisiana for using illegal aliens to construct their new stores. Although the AFL-CIO sees Wal-Mart as clearly anti-union, and is working across the country to challenge Wal-Mart labor practices, the carpenters union seems to be prepared to nail its union brothers and sisters to the WAL.