Based on an email obtained by Fox News, Todd Starnes is reporting that Union members in Maryland were threatened with punishment if they didn’t campaign for Democratic candidates or volunteer as poll watchers.
The email was sent to members of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, requesting volunteers to walk in a parade with Democratic Maryland Senator Barbara Mikulksi and Gov. Martin O’Malley.
Their participation was also requested on Nov. 2 to work election polls.
“I have been informed by our representative, Jim Bestpitch, if we do not participate in the above activities; Jim advised he would see that our Election Day Holiday would be negotiated out of our contract,” wrote Mike Pyles, president of Union 553 in the city of Cumberland.
Hey, what did the big guy say? Punish your enemies? Well, if you’re not willing to help out the party, I guess that might make you an enemy in the eyes of Maryland Dem honchos.
But it turns out that it was all a big mistake…Bestpitch “miscommunicated wrong”:
The email has some union members wondering if they are being extorted, but Bestpitch told Fox News that was not case.
“That was miscommunicated wrong,” Bestpitch said. “The way the email was worded – it was wrong.”
Bestpitch said union member contacted him personally and told him they felt threatened. He said he’s been visiting local union shops to set the record straight.
Now he’s miscommunicating right.
A commenter close to the situation weighs in:
I was a recipient of the e-mail that Todd Starnes has reported on regarding AFSCME and Jim Bestpitch and I can tell you that Jim Bestpitch lies. I have known Jim and Mike Pyles [the Union President who sent the e-mail] for many years. Mike is a decent guy who I believe was merely conveying the message that Jim wanted to send. Bestpitch threw Pyles under the bus and is trying desperately to cover his behind. Jim came to our office to try and talk his way out of it but we sent him packing. Although an AFSCME member. I and most of my coworkers are conservative and are sick and tired of the Union attachment to liberal politics. Just trying to set the record straight.
More “volunteer” opportunities in Maryland include State sponsored sign stealing:
The leader of the state with the slogan of “Seize the Day Off” apparently told state employees to work on their days off, at overtime rates, according to candidates and residents along major thoroughfares in the Democratic stronghold of Montgomery County, in the Washington suburbs. Those residents told Newsmax they were surprised on Saturday when highway workers removed signs from their front yards and tossed them into a state dump truck.
“This is an absolute outrage,” said Rob Vricella, a Republican candidate for county council who confronted the workers. “I jumped up into the truck and retrieved my own signs and saw a pile of what looked like all Republican signs.”
When Vricella challenged the workers, they identified themselves as state employees who were getting overtime to remove the signs on the Democratic governor’s orders, he said.
A few minutes after Vricella encountered the state workers, the truck stopped in front of Charles Pelham’s house in Bethesda. His wife was working in the yard when the state workers removed Republican campaign signs from their property, despite her protests, Pelham said.
The workers told her the same story: They were acting on the Democratic governor’s orders and receiving overtime for working on Saturday and Sunday.
Candidates regularly put up signs on the medians of main roads, even though state law forbids the practice and holds offending candidates responsible for their removal. Candidates who don’t remove their signs after Election Day can be fined, although that has happened rarely, if ever.
But the state has no authority to remove signs from private property. Removal of private property without the owner’s request is theft.
O’Malley is running against former Republican Governor Bob Ehrlich, whom O’Malley ousted in 2006. O’Malley also recently distinguished himself by calling illegal immigrants, “new Americans” in a debate with Ehrlich. For some inexplicable reason, O’Malley is up by 10 in the latest polling.
Is there about to be a new Tea Party led by Union rank and file? A nationwide poll of 760 union members from both the private and government sector conducted last week by Frank Luntz of Fox News fame shows an incredible dis-attachment between union leadership and they people they are supposed to be working for, the rank and file.
Conducted for the National Right to Work foundation, the poll found that 60 percent of union members oppose their union bosses’ political spending in the 2010 midterm elections, viewing it a wasteful use of union dues and treasuries to protect incumbent Democrat politicians in Washington, D.C
Hat tip: Weasel Zippers