More on the Homeless Protestors


Giant Rat

Originally uploaded by tbridge.

Wednesday night, as Tiff and I were driving to a birthday dinner at Liberty Tavern, we heard this piece on NPR about our favorite group of homeless people employed as protestors. My favorite section of the article was this one:

Most people who pass the picket line don’t look closely at the protesters. Diego Castaneda, a doctoral student from California, snaps a picture of a marcher and gives her a thumbs up.

“I just like seeing people demonstrating and standing up for their rights,” Castaneda said.

But when I tell him the protesters are actually homeless people, his face falls.

“Are you serious?” he says in disbelief. “It’s pretty disingenuous of the union to hire people who aren’t carpenters.”

Yep, folks, it’s pretty shady to hire folks for $8 an hour to protest when your union members won’t actually protest themselves. Not listed in the story page on NPR’s site was the original postscript when the reporter, Frank Langfitt, asked the workers about their wages, and they wanted more money.

He suggested they formed a union.

8 Comments so far

  1. jimmy (unregistered) on November 16th, 2007 @ 3:39 pm

    but look at the flip side of the argument. the unions are paying homeless people who would otherwise not be making any money and excuse thhe sterotyping but would most likely be scattered around the city in parks and street corners. having the unions pay the homeless allow the homeless to get a hot meal, buy a new blanket, etc.


  2. Christy (unregistered) on November 16th, 2007 @ 3:39 pm

    I may just be missing it in the article, but can anyone say which bank and where? I’d be interested in seeing that.


  3. Tom Bridge (unregistered) on November 16th, 2007 @ 3:47 pm

    Just what we need, more shitty low paying jobs that don’t solve the root problems of homelessness.

    Good call, Jimmy.


  4. Anon (unregistered) on November 16th, 2007 @ 4:58 pm

    I’m kinda surprised somebody would look at those picket lines and not realize they’re not looking at unionized carpenters. Although perhaps the doctoral student is just so excited to be among the salt of the earth that he’s been reading so many interesting New Yorker articles about.

    And I’m worried about that rat. He really ought to get a doctor to look at that skin abrasion; it looks infected.


  5. Mike Licht (unregistered) on November 16th, 2007 @ 5:38 pm

    $8 an hour? Don’t the place-holders in those lines at the Capitol hearing rooms get $15 an hour? And they’re indoors.


  6. Mike Licht (unregistered) on November 16th, 2007 @ 5:56 pm

    Anon: That’s not a skin abrasion. That’s a scab.


  7. Anon (unregistered) on November 16th, 2007 @ 6:12 pm

    "That’s not a skin abrasion. That’s a scab."

    Wait, so does that represent the homeless guys who are crossing the picket lines by panhandling by the door?

    I have another question: does this qualify as bumvertising? If not, what’s really the difference?


  8. EK (unregistered) on November 29th, 2007 @ 11:35 am

    After reading this post, I have a strong suspicion that the skull-penetrating noise (an insistent, absolutely obnoxious whistle blown in rhythmic bursts and a mess of percussion–hands, sticks, etc.) that has been disturbing me between 8:00-11:30 or so every morning is likely protestors.

    I’m a grad student at GW who studies all day (near 21st and L NW), and the noise is completely obnoxious, distracting, and off-putting. It’s bad enough trying to study; I pity the office workers in the area. The noise-makers must be several blocks away, because I can’t see them from my balcony. Anyone have any idea if I’m hearing a picket line? If so, aren’t there noise pollution laws being broken?



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