Have you been out to Das Schlitterbahn, the metro area’s newest aquatic attraction? No? Schnell, schnell! Sadly (maybe), what you won’t see at the local water park and sausage factory is the presence of local union workers. The Tejas-based company used — gasp! — their own workers to build the mammoth H2Opalooza, offending area workers who wanted the jobs themselves. We’re, um… outraged? Luckily, the unions quickly mobilized and exhibited the intellect that has made them a rapidly dwindling presence in American life.
First [the union] erected a billboard that bluntly states, “Schlitterbahn sucks.”
Next, instead of offering a coherent argument for the utilization of local union workers, the protectionism-loving members of the Carpenter’s District Council of Kansas City and Vicinity decided to argue for what sounds suspiciously like pure selfishness.
The Carpenter’s union alleges that Schlitterbahn stopped using its members earlier this year about the time that the New Braunfels, Texas, waterpark company stopped using Turner Construction as its general contractor. It then began relying more on its Texas-based team of water park experts.
David Wilson, the union’s assistant director of organizing, said that Schlitterbahn characterized the move as necessary to complete the water park portion of its $750 million resort project. But he said that most of the work taking place does not require a specialization in water park construction.
“We need those jobs,” Wilson said. “When those folks from Texas are done with the construction, they’re going to take the money they’ve earned and spend it in Texas.”
Hmm. We find it hard to be either surprised or upset by the use of Texas employees to complete a project owned and operated by a Texas company. Yes, those dollars will go back to Texas (um, except for all the money the workers will spend while in Kansas City), where they will benefit a state that the employer calls home — thus helping the employer’s overarching economic sphere of influence.
More and more, you can count on this in American life: where an economically sensible idea is taking hold, a union with fading clout and antiquated notions of commerce will be there to oppose it.