Frito-Lay, a major Northwest snack manufacturer of potato and corn chips had a large baking facility in Vancouver, Washington, that was unionized paying workers $16.96 an hour plus health, vacation and retirement benefits. Then suddenly in April 2008, the union jobs were suddenly terminated as jobs were then outsourced to a nonunion mystery source paying just $8 a hour with no benefits.
Drivers for the the Teamsters Union found out that this mystery nonunion outsourcing operation turned out to be DePaul Industries in North Portland, Oregon , a claimed nonprofit labor outsourcing business that earns $20 million dollars a year tax free. DePaul Industries was founded by a grant from from the Catholic charity, the St. Vincent DePaul Society which closed thrift stores and other fund raising projects to help the poor, with the mission of DePaul Industries to supposedly give employment to persons with disabilities. Instead, this nontaxable business instead scavenges higher paying union jobs and hires workers at less than half the wages and without benefits.
And even worse for this business founded by Catholic charity funds, strong arm tactics including firing employees who simply signed union cards with the intention of wanting to become union members for better working condition or wages has been common place at DePaul Industries
In one case, an African American employee who attempted to unionize DePaul Industries was angrily fired by two managers, one shouting out racist statements. Hardly the sort of conduct one would expect from an organization founded with Catholic charity funds to supposedly help persons who are down and out due to disabilities.
The fact of the matter is that some big business lobby organizations such as the one run by the U.S. Chamber Of Commerce have spent millions of dollars to air ads and a misinformation campaign to oppose the Employee Free Choice Act which would have allowed exploited handicapped employees such as those at DePaul Industries to become union members simply by signing cards stating that they wish for a union to represent them. At DePaul Industries, a number of employees who simply signed these union intention cards have been fired by the company.
The racist abuse of the fired employee at DePaul Industries as well as the firings of other DePaul employees for merely signing union intention cards is typical of the abuses of employees who labor in the absence of job protections that the Employee Free Choice Act would offer.
Employees at DePaul Industries are supposed to be handicapped, yet have in the past become major sources of labor for potentially hazardous work duty such as some truck assembly for truck builder Freightliner or soldering work for electronics companies, which involves work around lead and lead fumes or machinery. Yet this claimed nonprofit organization can continue to pay no taxes, and uses outrageous firings of any who advocate for union representation and improvement of working conditions or wages.
DePaul Industries is a pretty good case example of why the Employee Free Choice Act needs to become law. Only if this current Congress finally passes this bill, would some of the worst of employee and manager abuses against workers who seek to improve their workplaces improve.
To say that handicapped workers are exploited at DePaul Industries, which also takes away good paying union jobs from other employers as they outsource to this enterprise is to say the very least here. High paying factory jobs disappear to a professional outsourcing company like DePaul Industries, ruining the American middle class which was created through high paying union jobs, and instead creating a lower class of underpaid workers living near the poverty level. That's hardly a godly mission for an organization supposedly founded by a church run charity to help the handicapped. That's mere labor exploitation.
Hey kids. If you want to make a lot of money in business, then start a $20 million dollar a year, nonunion, job outsourcing business that's tax-free. You can't lose. Even during this recession.
The fact of the matter was that DePaul Industries was named after the Catholic saint who helped the poor, and the St. Vincent DePaul Society was founded by a French college student who believed that the Catholic Church needed a greater mission towards the poor. However, I bet neither would recognize the works of DePaul Industries as anywhere near comparable to their own mission of charity and a helping hand towards the poor.
Note: Wizbang Blue is now closed and our authors have moved on. Paul Hooson can now be found at Wizbang Pop!. Please come see him there!