For months now, the new, much-wanted and long-awaited City Grocer store in downtown Tacoma has had a parade of four to six sign-carrying picketers in front telling all passers-by and potential customers to shop elsewhere. The large signs complain that the employees are not members of a trade union.
The disproportionately large, intimidating labor union presence on the sidewalk of this new grocery store shouts the message that unless you hire union labor, new business, even if it provides needed services, is not welcome. Any prospective new business owner walking down the street would be discouraged by this show of force.
This over-the-top display of union power, forcing customers to walk around all the picketers, seems to be counter-productive to efforts the city is making to attract and keep the kinds of retail establishments that would bring back some commercial life to our city center.
I would add that the union’s interests would be better served by fewer picketers who clean up their unkempt, careless appearances, and stash the lunch boxes and coolers.