“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.

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Dan
Dan
9 years ago

Yous homeless peoples had betta think twice before messin’ wit’ da unions of Rhode Island!
And yous volunteeahs at da’ homeless shelter – it’s on now! When we see yous out shopping with ya’ family, yous had better run the other way!

michael
michael
9 years ago

“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?”
Ever read Ed Achorn, the Letters to the editor, listen to The Jon Depetro Show or get a coffee while in uniform? People are not shy when it comes to voicing their displeasure at unions and their members.
Personally, I’m glad that Crossroads joined Engage RI. The further away labor gets from places like Crossroads the happier I will be.

Russ
Russ
9 years ago

There are quite a few other organizations to which one can contribute. You can choose to ignore that if you like. For instance, I don’t generally dontate to organizations that discriminate against gays or those that work politically against same sex marriage, but that doesn’t make me any less concerned with the plight of the poor.
I also wouldn’t hesitate to withold support from an organization I had previously supported, with the hopes of changing their perhaps ill thought out position. As a member of the organization that’s as it should be.
You lose all credibility when you encourage (and you are doing that) people to harass union members for the sin of wanting the state to honor their signed contract. (btw don’t expect a blog donation from me!)

Patrick
Patrick
9 years ago

Michael, good to see you back.
Russ, you’re focusing on the donation part. I even explicitly wrote, no one is required to donate to anyone. Nor did I say that anyone should harass union members for wanting the state to honor their contract. I said any time the union does something we don’t like, we should harass union members. During negotiations, we should harass them, after the contract is signed, we should harass them. If I don’t like it, that what I should do. That’s what all taxpayers should do. Russ, you want to play hardball and that’s what happens. Harassment isn’t a one-way street. Or should it be? Are you saying the union has the patent on harassment? Keefe himself said union members should show their displeasure to Crossroads people when they see them around town. Why is it not ok for taxpayers to do the same to union members that they disagree with?
Not so fun when it’s turned around, is it?

Russ
Russ
9 years ago

“Russ, you want to play hardball and that’s what happens.”
I’m not a state employee. I haven’t sent any letters harassing or otherwise to Crossroads so get off your high horse.
What’s this lays bare is that the “I’m not against workers” excuse used by the anti-union crowd is pure bs. You should be ashamed of yourself. Let’s just hope nothing comes of these inflamatory calls for abuse of teachers, police, fire fighters, etc.

Russ
Russ
9 years ago

I said any time the union does something we don’t like, we should harass union members. During negotiations, we should harass them, after the contract is signed, we should harass them. If I don’t like it, that what I should do.

I hope no one takes you up on that, but please let us know how that works out harassing police with “vulgar and threatening language” the next time their union does something you don’t like.
Justin, you comfortable with this one? I’m kind of shocked no one else is jumping in.

Dan
Dan
9 years ago

Russ – Calm down. He’s simply using a rhetorical device to make the point that RI unions routinely engage in behavior that they would find offensive and reprehensible if directed back at them. The fact that your “SHAAAAME” howls are directed solely at Patrick while ignoring the actual harassment of homeless shelter workers by public union activists illustrates the depths of your bias and dishonesty.

David S
David S
9 years ago

Patrick, is voicing displeasure tantamount to heckling and harrassing? I think you should reconsider advising people to heckle and harrass public workers. I quess you can take some comfort in knowing -as Michael points out- that public union workers have been getting this treatment for quite a while. One of the consistent talking points has been “the greedy selfish union worker” and you reinforce it here. But consider the fact that Crossroads had come to rely on those greedy selfish people for a large portion of their donations.

Russ
Russ
9 years ago

If those letters contained threats, they should be referred to the police. But saying “why don’t you ask Engage Rhode Island for a donation” is hardly an example of that and as I said above the kind of feedback one would expect from an organization’s members.
Notably the union as quoted above did not call for harassment and threats that way Patrick just did. The fact that a few hot-heads, perhaps union members, sent abusive letters doesn’t justify calling for the harassment of police or for the threatening school teachers. I’d never do that and think less of anyone who would, even as a “rhetorical device.”
Yes, shame on you, Patrick. The right thing here is to print a retraction.

Patrick
Patrick
9 years ago

I am not advocating for any criminal actions by anyone and if anyone were to take it that way, I would retract that in a second.
What I am asking is whether taxpayers should do as Phillip Keefe suggested:
“when you run into them at the office or in the community feel free to express your displeasure with their position”
That’s all. If I or others find displeasure in the position of union members, should we feel free to express our displeasure at the office or in the community.
I see Keefe’s statement as a veiled threat and am simply asking whether that works both ways.
No, no one should engage in any criminal activity here. I’m merely asking the question.

Russ
Russ
9 years ago

You see the statement as a “veiled threat” so you make an explicit threat and then expect us to believe that whatever illegal actions come of it are not your concern. My mother is a retired school teacher. I don’t suggest you try harassing her within earshot of me.
Truly a despicable diary and a new low over here.

Patrick
Patrick
9 years ago

It seems Russ is finally seeing the frustration that many of us also feel at times with some unions’ leadership.
Exactly the point of the post.

Russ
Russ
9 years ago

That post had a point? What I took away was that you must be a dangerous and disturbed individual to unapologetically post something like this.
And don’t pull that “leadership” bs after calling for harassment and abuse of old ladies.

Tommy Cranston
Tommy Cranston
9 years ago

Hey Russ you should be in mourning today over one of the Atheist Left’s brightest bulbs; Kim Jong Il.
Happy Kwanza ***hole!

Russ
Russ
9 years ago

Ah, yes, out come the obscenities now. Way to illustrate for all which side is out of line on this one.
Classy site you’re running here, Justin.

Dan
Dan
9 years ago

Russ – With all of your manufacturered outrage over nothing in this thread, you should try selling some of it. Between all of the “War on Christmas” and “War on Workers” loudmouths in RI you could do good business.

Russ
Russ
9 years ago

Ah, yes, manufactured outrage (this diary being a perfect example)… right the sole property of reactionary conservatives. Yet another point to this diary!

Dan
Dan
9 years ago

I don’t see any manufactured outrage in Patrick’s post. It’s more sarcastic in tone than anything. Perhaps you could copy and paste from the piece an example of what you consider manufactured outrage. We’ve witnessed your skill in copying and pasting here many times before.

Patrick
Patrick
9 years ago

“And don’t pull that “leadership” bs after calling for harassment and abuse of old ladies.”
But yet it’s ok to “voice your displeasure” with Ann Nolan and other people at Crossroads.
Your outrage is perfectly making my point. Keefe called for people to “voice their displeasure” while around town or in the office to Crossroads executives. Why is it not ok for others to do that to members of unions that we are displeased with?
I don’t want anyone harassing anyone. I wish people like Keefe didn’t call for his members to “voice their displeasure” like he did. I’m merely asking why is it ok for Keefe to do that and no one else? Your outrage should really be directed at the originator of this, Phillip Keefe.

mangeek
mangeek
9 years ago

I think Patrick’s original post was clearly saying ‘Is this what it’s come to?’, not ‘we should go after union members’.
I don’t see why everyone is getting so worked-up over this. Take a Valium, drink some egg nog.

Mark
Mark
9 years ago

I see a rhetorical question in Patrick’s post that got blown way, way, way out of hand. Merry Christmas!

Russ
Russ
9 years ago

For the record, I said Patrick’s post would “encourage people to harass union members” and explained why I thought it legitimate and appropriate for an organization’s members to express concern over the actions of that organization.
Note, that’s quite different than Patrick’s suggestion that hot-heads accost random people in the street to vent their perceived greivances. But then Patrick said this in reply!

Nor did I say that anyone should harass union members for wanting the state to honor their contract. I said any time the union does something we don’t like, we should harass union members. During negotiations, we should harass them, after the contract is signed, we should harass them. If I don’t like it, that what I should do. That’s what all taxpayers should do. Russ, you want to play hardball [not sure why he thinks I’m a public employee union rep] and that’s what happens. Harassment isn’t a one-way street.

At that point, I expressed outrage as should you. I’m actually surprised you guys are attempting to justify as normal this kind of irresponsible behavior.

Russ
Russ
9 years ago

Mark, which part of this is rhetorical?

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.

Sounds pretty good to me?! That’s encouragement of those actions. That deserves to be called out by anyone who thinks that behavior is shameful no matter the source.
I’m still shocked that no else has tried to distance themselves from that statement, which I can’t help but think indicates approval.

Max D
Max D
9 years ago

“I’m still shocked that no else has tried to distance themselves from that statement, which I can’t help but think indicates approval.”
Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z z z z z z z z z z

Russ
Russ
9 years ago

I’m tempted to write that threat in reverse to see how you folks react, but I’m just not comfortable as some who would stoop that low to make a point.
Max, you got something better to do have at it.

Dan
Dan
9 years ago

Russ is like the quintessential inexperienced TTT attorney who thinks cases are won based on how many adjectives they can use, repetition of arguments, and how much they can exaggerate the merits. When corrected, rather than simply moving along, they enter a frantic damage control sequence of attrition. What he doesn’t realize is that these people have zero credibility and the listener tunes out after witnessing the n-th offense. After a while, everyone groans when even the individual’s name is mentioned because they are expecting the inevitable string of time-wasting distortions to follow.
Intellectually responsible participants argue on the facts. They don’t assume facts. They don’t ignore facts. They don’t twist words. They use the facts to their advantage and build a case based on supporting logic. The complete opposite of what we have witnessed from every Russ post over the past two months.
Russ thinks he can brute force victories by distorting the words of every Anchor Rising article through creative language and stretching their meaning to the breaking point. It’s transparent, tired, and troll-like, and we should treat him like the contemptuous judge who has seen it all before.

Patrick
Patrick
9 years ago

I’ve said multiple times now that I am not calling for anyone to do anything criminal and do not want anyone to do anything criminal. I don’t know how much clearer I can make this.
Let’s say ask it this way. Keefe called for x against Crossroads for reasons y. If other people did x against union members for reasons y, is that ok? In my opinion, NO. Neither one is ok.
I don’t know how much clearer I can be.

David S
David S
9 years ago

Patrick. I don’t think you meant what you said either. You have had a more reasonable tone here at AR than many others. But your language was troubling. Is voicing displeasure really the same as a call to heckle and harrass? Voicing displeasure – thats what you find so objectionable – is done here on this blog almost around the clock 52 weeks of the year. In my humble opinion it is much more desirable that you guys bitch bitch bitch on this blog and on talk radio than to go out on the streets with pitchforks and baseball bats and acually heckle and harrass. Now if you are saying that union members are bitch bitch bitching just like you guys, and are cutting off their noses to spite their faces- well, you may have an argument.

ANTHONY
ANTHONY
9 years ago

“Classy site you’re running here, Justin.”
Russ admit it…..you love this stuff.
What Russ is doing is classic leftism. He’s grabbing a soundbite and getting his panties all wound up in a wad. He lives for it.
Occupy AR!

Max D
Max D
9 years ago

“You have had a more reasonable tone here at AR than many others.”
…but I’m left and you’re right so it matters not.
“But your language was troubling.”
That would be left for we know what you said but we’ll redefine it and say you meant something else just to get a rise.

John Sirois
John Sirois
9 years ago

Us state employees just decided to “vote with our dollars”. I just donated elsewhere.
Maybe you should ask the Crossroads leadership why pension reform is part of their agenda. I thought their mission was helping the homeless?

Dan
Dan
9 years ago

“Maybe you should ask the Crossroads leadership why pension reform is part of their agenda.”
The Crossroads president did address this question in the article. She stated that she was concerned about the unfunded liability and the potentially disastrous economic effects that it could have on the state and its social programs.

Monique
Editor
9 years ago

“”You want to play hardball, this is what happens”
Amazing.
We lost our COLA – not our pension, our COLA – on a pension that many, many of us immediately started collecting after working only twenty years. So the poor are going to pay. Wow.
With public labor leaders displaying this kind of attitude, all of the so-called anti-union groups can just call it a day. They couldn’t make the public unions look any worse than their own leaders are doing.
By the way, has anyone checked in with the poverty crew to see what they think of this display of “solidarity”?

Max D
Max D
9 years ago

“Us state employees just decided to “vote with our dollars”. I just donated elsewhere.”
Did you mean to say ‘uz’ state employees?

Tom Kenney
Tom Kenney
9 years ago

“””…Crossroads RI said they are down about $100,000 in their usual donations since the pension discussions…”””
I guess that shows that the union workers and retirees actually “give back” to the community!

Tom Kenney
Tom Kenney
9 years ago

“””…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 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…”””
I think the way Patrick “connected the dots” in his commentary was way off base. Look at the statements above and compare Keefe’s comment of “voice your concern” and “express your displeasure” with their position to “heckle”, “shout down” and “harrassing”.
The former looks like a civilized response to something you disagree with and the latter looks like something many people on the right would call “union thuggery”.

Tom Kenney
Tom Kenney
9 years ago

“””…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…”””
I’m sure that most of that 100K has found it’s way to equally worthy charitable causes…maybe even the same cause via another avenue.
And tell me if you think that The Diocese of Providence would support a charity for a good cause via Planned Parenthood or Citizens Against Illegal Immigration?
Of course not. This is exactly what Keefe is calling for his members to do.

Lou
Lou
9 years ago

“The former looks like a civilized response to something you disagree with and the latter looks like something many people on the right would call “union thuggery”.
Were you in line with people calling Rainone and Liedecker “thugs” when they didn’t exactly have a civized response to someone they disagreed with? OR were you silent then?

Tom Kenney
Tom Kenney
9 years ago

Lou,
Avoiding my post?
Or is it “na na na na, your guys did it” whenever you’re talking about?
I don’t condone “thuggery” from “anyone”. Apparently it happens on “both” sides.

Max D
Max D
9 years ago

Tom,
So you disagree with the premise of Patrick’s commentary but please tell us that you don’t believe it to be a call to arms like the two knucklehead liberals claim.

Dan
Dan
9 years ago

Tom Kenney – Mob bosses are very “generous” with their communities also. Money is control, as this article illustrates. As the campaign finance reports can easily verify, your union figured out long ago that donations can buy more than goodwill.
Although there aren’t any names mentioned in the article, I think it’s fairly safe to say that some or all of those returned donation request forms are coming from public union members at the direction of their unions. Do you personally think those kinds of responses are appropriate? Do you support the kind of public “voicing of concern” that Keefe advocates?
You say that you oppose bad behavior from both sides, but you always seem to be absent when it’s occuring on one particular side – yours. Certainly anytime a fireman happens to be involved in an egregious abuse of the system.

seirra1
seirra1
9 years ago

Anyone ever driven past Crossroads? How many “women and children” have you seen there? Mostly just a bunch of homeless drunks and criminals with no place else to go for the day.
Crossroad’s so called “poverty pimps” make frequent targets on these pages but are suddenly your best friend when the evil unions line up against them. Way to stay consistent.

Tom Kenney
Tom Kenney
9 years ago

“””…Do you personally think those kinds of responses are appropriate? Do you support the kind of public “voicing of concern” that Keefe advocates?…”””
Yes, absolutely to both counts.
“””…You say that you oppose bad behavior from both sides, but you always seem to be absent when it’s occuring on one particular side – yours. Certainly anytime a fireman happens to be involved in an egregious abuse of the system…”””
This is totally not true. And, the person who wrote it is not someone I’m willing to debate on anything, anywhere, on any subject. Been there, done that!!

Lou
Lou
9 years ago

I think we all know that Keefe talking about voicing concerns is analogous to Tony Soprano being in the “waste removal business”.
I’m suuuuuuurrrre, that’s what they meant.
We’ve seen how union members voice their concerns up close and personal.

Tom Kenney
Tom Kenney
9 years ago

Max D,
I do not consider Patrick’s post a call to arms – not in the least!
My opinion is that Patrick’s post completely misrepresents the facts by insinuating that Keefe’s comments were on the level of inappropriateness that he (Patrick) portrayed in the post.
FYI – I will not donate a penny to any organization whose leader takes a public stance against me, my brother firefighters or our families. That is my choice.

Tom Kenney
Tom Kenney
9 years ago

Lou,
You’re proving yourself to be as worthless to debate as that other clown, Dan.
You’re suuuuure? I guess that should clear it up for the rest of us, then. No bother to discuss it any further…Lou is suuuuuuuure!!!
Comparing Mr. Keefe to Tony Sopprano? That’s the assumption of someone with an open mind?
I hope you prove me wrong…

Dan
Dan
9 years ago

I’m a “clown” because I use sound logic and reference payroll data and campaign finance reports to support my points. That just shows you the mentality of union crusaders like Tom Kenney who are the enemy of all economic reality – it’s all screeching and emotional hysterics to these people. The facts have no place in this debate.
Tom – I’m sure you’d think it was totally appropriate if some tea party member stopped you every time you went to the store or church and told you what they thought of your union in front of your family. I’m sure you’d thank them for being a conscientious citizen, right? Your hypocrisy and mob mentality self-interest knows no bounds. Union does something – A-okay. Pension reformers do the same thing – evil incarnate.

Lou
Lou
9 years ago

Fact are fact. We’ve seen what union guy Rainone did. We’ve seen what union guy Liedecker did. We’ve seen the vidoes of union activity at and around rallies at the state house. We’ve seen a union member shout at town council members.
But yet, Keefe is calling for these union members to simply tell people “I have concerns with the way you’ve acted.”
Keefe even tried to play tough guy with the “they want to play hardball” comment.
Union guys want to play the role until they’re called on it, then it’s “I have no idea what your talking about”

Tom Kenney
Tom Kenney
9 years ago

Are all of you going to let these two debate/defend your position? That’s why I don’t post here anymore…

Rich
Rich
9 years ago

As a union firefighter, Ive been heckled more times than I can count in the last 3+ years. Id like to say I shrug it off but the truth of the matter is that it bothers me a bit. I guess thats just because I know the work that we do and I know how important it is to us that we are good at it so it’s only natural to be bothered when someone belittles your effort and your profession. Therefore, I wouldnt engage someone on their beliefs outside of an appropriate venue myself. Any who..
I think the larger point here is that this state (ie. taxpayers) already spends 3.4 Billion dollars on social services and entitlements. Thats a pie that Crossroads eats from, and it’s quite the large pie. Its nearly half of the annual state budget. To put that in prospective, the pension payment is roughly 5% of the budget. It troubles me when organizations who already recieve nearly 3.4 billion dollars of working families money (union or not) then moves to get even more. Make no mistake, that was their motivation for supporting reform. It wasnt on principle, it was in hopes that the state would funnel any savings to Crossroads… not put it back in the taxpayers pocket.
I feel like Crossroads does a great job of enabling er I mean helping the poor. Perhaps too good. Anytime an organization like this gets into the business of harming people in an effort to “help” others, I remove them from my giving.

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