Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Shame on . . . WHO?

shame on
This picture is from the Maryville Daily Times, just over in the next county but these signs are all over the East Tennessee area, all with different names to be shamed.

The signs began popping up around Knoxville well over a year ago and I paid them little mind until one showed up just down the street from my neighborhood.  The sign and the two people sitting with it were positioned on a main road, up against a brick wall, across from a middle income neighborhood.  The sign obviously named someone who lived in the neighborhood across from where the sign and it’s handlers were positioned.

I was curious about the situation since all the signs have different names to be shamed.  I began to look into it on-line and learned that all the protests were being organized by a local carpenters union and they are protesting the use of non-union carpenters by local developers

The interesting thing is that none of the names on the signs are developers.  In fact, the name on the sign above is the mayor of Maryville.  In this case, there is city money being paid to a developer who uses non-union carpenters and the union objects.  The mayor represents the city so his name goes up on the sign.  No one driving by even knows who the developer is.

My effort to bring this up is NOT to discuss union practices or the labor issues that have arisen from this.  I am just wondering how effective they are with this type of protest.

For the last year, I have driven by these signs and paid them little mind.  As the weather changed, I worried about the people being out in the extreme heat or cold.  I figured they must be pretty dedicated and believe in their cause but that was the extent of me thinking about the cause.

Today, as I drove on my way to work, I passed the sign close to my neighborhood.  There were two people with the sign, one sitting on each end, as always.  But today, on one end, there was a person in a reclining lawn chair leaned all the way back, covered by blankets and an umbrella.  I couldn’t see if the person was male or female but I COULD see that they were asleep.  At the other end of the sign was someone in another chair, wearing a gray hoodie with the hood pulled around their face, slumped over to the side, asleep.  Don’t these people have lives?

I began to think of the ridiculousness of it all.  The signs have the name of a person that is not directly responsible for what they are protesting.  No one knows what it is they are protesting.  If you ask, you are told “we can’t say anything except it’s a labor dispute”.  These people are sleeping on the side of a main highway in horrible weather guarding a sign that no one understands and they won’t explain.

Is this really the best way to get your message out?
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