“You want to play hardball, and that’s what happens.”
That was the answer given by SEIU Local 580 President Phillip Keefe about his union’s response to the fact that Crossroads RI decided to back Engage RI in the recent pension reform discussions. In today’s Providence Journal, Crossroads’ president said they’re getting some of their donation cards back with a different response from the past.
“Some of them were quite vulgar,” Nolan said. “Some of them were threatening. Some of them were, pardon me, ‘Why the [expletive] don’t you ask Engage Rhode Island for a donation!’”
Keefe doesn’t deny that his organization could be behind the feedback.
The union sent letters last month to its 1,000 members, he said, and followed up with discussions at membership meetings about directing their charitable contributions away from organizations such as Crossroads and Family Services of Rhode Island, which are affiliated with EngageRI. Any nonprofits that support an organization that is “slamming” union members, he said, should expect similar treatment.
And then, he went on further:
“These people are targeting you and your families. You can act now by simply not using the services of these groups or contacting them directly to voice your concern … [and] when you run into them at the office or in the community feel free to express your displeasure with their position.”
So SEIU 580 is telling their people that when they see members of Crossroads RI (and other Engage RI supporters) at the grocery store, at the coffee shop, or walking down the street, express their displeasure with the Crossroads’ position. The letter told the union members that they should voice their displeasure to anyone they believe is taking money out of their pockets? Really? And the response is “You want to play hardball, this is what happens”, really? So if I’m not happy with what their union does, I should heckle their members every time I see them? Is that what all taxpayers should do? If I don’t like the union’s contract, should I shout down my local teachers, the guy driving the plow, the people working at Town Hall? When I see them at the grocery store, should I tell them what I think? Is that really what Phillip Keefe is advocating for? Wouldn’t that be interesting if many taxpayers started harassing his union members in public like this and the response was “You want to play hardball, this is what happens.” Sounds pretty good to me.
While no one is or ever should be required to donate to any organization, Crossroads RI said they are down about $100,000 in their usual donations since the pension discussions. Crossroads is one of the organizations that takes care of homeless people, women and children included. This is who the union is turning on. Apparently, “I will not support any organization that works to cut my pension.” is more important to these people than children sleeping on the street and having food to each. But it’s good to see that SEIU 580 is out to protect the little guy.