The View From 1776
Thursday, March 31, 2011
More Union Thuggery
This sort of thing is what the mobocracy of Wisconsin liberal-progressivism call democracy.
A Wall Street Journal editorial describes a Mafia-style “protection” racket being implemented by those icons of liberal-progressive-socialism, the labor unions. If there is much difference between Hitler’s Gestapo and labor unions, it’s hard to see.
Wisconsin Unions Get Ugly
Now they’re threatening businesses that stay neutral in the state’s budget battle.
Having lost their fight in the legislature, Wisconsin unions are now getting out the steel pipes for those who don’t step lively to their cause. A letter we’ve seen that was sent to businesses in southeastern Wisconsin shows that Big Labor’s latest strategy is to threaten small businesses with boycotts if they don’t publicly declare their support for government union monopoly power.
Dated March 28, 2011, the letter is addressed to “DEAR UNION GROVE AREA BUSINESS OWNER/MANAGER,” in Racine County. And it begins with this warm greeting: “It is unfortunate that you have chosen ‘not’ to support public workers rights in Wisconsin. In recent past weeks you have been offered a sign(s) by a public employee(s) who works in one of the state facilities in the Union Grove area. These signs simply said ‘This Business Supports Workers Rights,’ a simple, subtle and we feel non-controversial statement given the facts at this time.”
We doubt “subtle” is the word a business owner would use to describe this offer he is being told he can’t refuse.
The letter is signed by Jim Parrett, the “Field Rep.” for Council 24 of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, which is the most powerful union in the AFL-CIO. The letter presents a litany of objections to Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s changes to benefits and public union collective bargaining power, describing them as “things that make life working in a 24-7 facility tolerable.”
The missive concludes by noting that, “With that we’d ask that you reconsider taking a sign and stance to support public employees in this community. Failure to do so will leave us no choice but do [sic] a public boycott of your business. And sorry, neutral means ‘no’ to those who work for the largest employer in the area and are union members.”
So even businesses that stay neutral in the political battle are considered the enemy and will be punished. Charming stuff, and especially coming from a union that claims (wrongly) to be losing its constitutional rights. Free speech for others apparently isn’t all that important.
On Wednesday we called the telephone number listed under Mr. Parrett’s name but his voicemail was full. We then spoke with union officials who said they’d ask Mr. Parrett to call us back, but he never called. He has since confirmed the accuracy of the letter to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, which reports that the threat is an outgrowth of a boycott campaign by other unions that has targeted M&I Bank and Kwik Trip because those companies or their executives supported Mr. Walker’s budget proposals.
This kind of union thuggery is all too common and is in keeping with the larger political goal of preventing union members from exercising their own rights of free association. The Walker reform that union leaders hate the most would require unions to be recertified annually by a majority of their members and let those members opt out of paying union dues.
Union chiefs like Mr. Parrett know what that means for their political clout. After taking office in 2005, Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels used an executive order to end collective bargaining for public workers