Greg Sargent reports that Joe the Plumber has been tapped by the anti-labor Americans for Prosperity to do “a series of events throughout Pennsylvania rallying opposition to the Employee Free Choice Act.” Here’s why Americans for Prosperity spokesperson Mary Ellen Burke said Joe was chosen:
“The public loves Joe the Plumber,” the spokesperson, Mary Ellen Burke, claimed to me. “They see him as a role model.”
Asked whether Joe the Plumber had any particular knowledge or expertise about EFCA that might explain the decision to enlist him, Burke said that he was being enlisted to provide a “grassroots perspective” and “the working perspective” on the measure.
Pressed on whether Joe the Plumber has any particular claim to being a spokesperson on the issue, Burke replied that “he represents the American worker.”
Joe the Plumber may not represent the average worker — or at least not the average plumber. Remember that Joe never had a plumbing license, and many of the people in that profession are members of the United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipe Fitting Industry (UA). UA political and legislative director Rick Terven responded to the latest news, saying, “Real plumbers want and need the Employee Free Choice Act as a way to empower themselves to join a union, without fear of intimidation or losing their jobs. Joe the Plumber doesn’t speak for real plumbers.”