Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Union Fines Members if They Don't Campaign for Elizabeth Warren

I was tempted to use stronger words in this post's title. "Union Forces Members to Campaign for Warren," or even "Mercenary Campaigners: The Unholy Alliance Between Warren and a Carpenter's Union."

Now that's just a guy being filmed. Who knows who he is, where he is, et cetera. Hardly a firm source.

But hidden (and I mean hidden like opening scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark hidden) in a Boston Globe story was confirmation that if union workers don't participate in rallies, they will lose $150.

Mark Erlich, executive secretary treasurer of the New England Regional Council of Carpenters, said the worker was describing an annual assessment that is waived when members do community service, which can include attending a political rally.

"Brown is flat-out wrong," Erlich said. "We have never and never will fine any member for not participating in political activity and have never paid any member to participate. Brown’s voting record is motivation enough."

So it isn't technically a fine. You just lose money if you don't participate in the rally. Which actually sounds very much like a fine.

How is a political rally considered community service?

If that's the case, would going to an Obama or Romney rally count as hours for court ordered community service?

Elizabeth Warren denied knowledge of this policy and I don't doubt it. What does she actually know about what working people do and have done to them? That's probably why Scott Brown has an unusual amount of union support for a GOP candidate (one WHDH poll had Brown supported by 46% of union members, and Warren by 41%). Maybe not from the unions themselves, but from the members who actually work.

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