Put up our sign or else! Wisconsin's new union protection racket

There was a time when the protection rackets were a staple of organized crime.  Shop keepers and businessmen in the cities would pay “protection” to the neighborhood mobster in order to be protected from the neighborhood mobster.  Anyone who was brave or foolish enough to refuse to pay-up would face dire consequences.  Of course the business would also be protected from shake-downs by the local police, other hoods and union thugs.


In a nostalgic attempt to revive the protection rackets from the glory days of organized crime, our public sector union friends in Wisconsin are making the business community “an offer they can’t refuse.”  The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports:


Members of Wisconsin State Employees Union, AFSCME Council 24, have begun circulating letters to businesses in southeast Wisconsin, asking then to support workers’ rights by putting up a sign in their windows.


If businesses fail to comply, the letter says, “Failure to do so will leave us no choice but (to) do 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.”


Jim Parrett, a field representative of Council 24 for Southeast Wisconsin, confirmed the contents of the letter, which carries his signature.  But he added that the union was also circulating letters to businesses thanking them for supporting workers’ rights.


According to Parrett similar attempts to shake-down the business community are being organized by public sector unions throughout the state.  WSEU members have been on the street pushing their signs which read “This Business Supports Workers Rights” on area businesses and keeping track of those who refuse to be intimidated into surrendering their sovereign rights as free citizens. 


Follow up letters that are being sent to responsible members of the business community state that “It is unfortunate that you have chosen ‘not’ to support public workers’ rights in Wisconsin,” and remind the recipient that they have been offered a sign by a local public employee and their business will suffer the wrath of the more than 1,300 union members in the area.  Parrett’s letter also warns the reader that the collective bargaining provisions are “what has kept workplace peace for half a century.” 


Apparently the WSEU feels that those who work and pay the taxes which in turn pay the public sector union members have no right to support any position which is not approved by the union. 


The Union Grove Chamber of Commerce has received numerous calls from members concerning the union sign campaign and threatened boycotts.  Most of the businesses would prefer to keep politics out of the workplace and remain neutral, but according to the union there is no such thing as neutrality.  Terri Gray the executive director for the chamber said that the union push started earlier in the week and it is not yet clear if their tactics were having an impact on local business.


When reached for comment on Wednesday, Jesse Jackson said that the tactics being used by the unions seemed reasonable to him.  Of course Jesse encourages his union pals to “remain nonviolent and disciplined in their protests,” wink-wink.


March 31, 2011