UNIONS OUTSOURCING: The Washington Post had an interesting front page story yesterday on the carpenters union's habit of using unemployed people, typically pulled from homeless shelters or SROs and paid around $8 per hour, to picket outside buildings that use non-union construction labor. I tend to side with critics of this practice. I think that for passersby to see sometimes disheveled or unenthusiastic picketers doesn't create a very positive image of the labor movement. Also paying people just a couple bucks more than minimum wage with no benefits seems hypocritical. I'd urge unions to instead hire a few full-time grassroots activists to whom they pay a living wage plus benefits and can present their message more effectively.