Unions protest Joe the Plumber in Pittsburgh.

Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher, aka “Joe the Plumber,” was recently tapped by the anti-labor group Americans for Prosperity to shill against the Employee Free Choice Act. Americans for Prosperity spokesperson Mary Ellen Burke said that Wurzelbacher was chosen because “he represents the American worker” and is a “role model.” At a rally yesterday near Pittsburgh, PA, Wurzelbacher received a chilly welcome from many residents — especially union members:

Two Green Tree police officers broke up several arguments to prevent fights in the midst of a crowd of about 150 packed inside a Radisson ballroom. The crowd was divided about evenly between union members and opponents of the so-called “card check” bill. No one was arrested.

Wurzelbacher, in a flannel shirt, T-shirt and jeans, drew some of the loudest rebukes from union members, who booed and jeered him for not having a plumber’s license in his native Ohio.

Watch a report from local CBS affiliate KDKA:

As the union members noted, Wurzelbacher never had a plumbing license. 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), which supports the Employee Free Choice Act.


REPORTER: Well his name would indicate that he’s a plumber. But the man who isn’t really one was in Green Tree today for what’s called the “Save my Ballot” tour. Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher, better known as Joe the Plumber, was here to rally against the Employee Free Choice Act, a bill that’s supposed to make it easier for unions to organize. Some local unions organized against Joe.

UNION MEMBER #1: Joe the Plumber, he don’t have a license. He ain’t a plumber.

UNION MEMBER #2: So for the Republican party to take a position that this is the epitome of a working person makes absolutely no sense whatsoever to anybody here that has to pay taxes.