Five men stood outside Walgreens at Mission and 23rd Streets Tuesday morning, handing out fliers charging Walgreens with the “desecration of the American Way of Life.”
Sort of makes you wonder, What way of life?, but anyway, none of the men would speak to a reporter. “Call the number on the paper,” they said in Spanish.
The paper explained that Walgreens was hiring contractors who fail to meet “local area labor standards including providing health care and pensions.”
“Are you carpenters?” the reporter asked in Spanish. “Call the number on the paper and ask them.”
Robert Elfinger, in media relations at Walgreen’s headquarters in Deerfield, Ill., did not know if the men were carpenters. “Ask them,” he said. (This is a reporter’s life.)
Elfinger couldn’t get his e-mail to work, so he read the company’s statement ever so s-l-o-w-l-y over the phone. The last line cut to the nut of the issue: “We require that our developers and contractors bid our jobs to both union and non-union contractors. And when bids are competitive, we favor union labor.” Presumably when they’re not competitive, Walgreens goes with the lowest bidder.
Elfinger declined to say what percentage of the non-union bids in California or the United States are so much lower that non-union contractors win the job. The Carpenters Union directed Mission Loc@l to the labor organizer there, but she was not available for comment.