What A Union “Take Out” Looks Like

September 7th, 2011 at 3:48 pm David Frum | 75 Comments |

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Did James Hoffa Jr., President of the Teamsters, cross a line when he said he wanted to “Take Out” the Tea Party? In my column for The Week I try to provide a bit of context for the remarks:

The Teamsters have a reputation as one of America’s less delicate unions. Some say that reputation is outdated — an artifact of a ruder time. Then you come across something like the following: A 2003 National Labor Relations Board settlement between the Teamsters union and a picketed employer.

Here’s the first full page of the text, unedited. Just imagine the events that might have led to such a statement.

“We [the Teamsters local] will not engage in mass picketing or otherwise impede the ingress or egress of COMPANY employees or employees of any other employer to or from any COMPANY service center or any facility of any neutral person doing business with COMPANY or patrol or walk across the entrance of any COMPANY service center or a facility of any neutral person doing business with COMPANY in such a manner as to impede or delay the ingress or egress of any individual.

“We will not batter, assault, spit on, blow whistles loudly near a person’s ear, throw any liquid or solid object at, or attempt to assault any non-striking employee of COMPANY or any member of his or her family or any employee of a neutral employee doing business with COMPANY, or any security guard or supervisor or manager of a neutral empoyee doing business with COMPANY in the presence of employees.”

“We will not threaten to kill or inflict bodily harm, make throat slashing motions, make gun pointing motions, challenge or threaten to fight or assault employees, threaten to sexually assault non-striking employees or their family members, threaten to follow non-striking employees to their homes, use racial epithets or obscene gestures at non-striking employees doing business with COMPANY, or on any security guard, supervisor, or manager of COMPANY or neutral employers doing business with COMPANY in the presence of employees

“We will not videotape or photograph any non-striking employees of COMPANY, or vehicles of COMPANY or its non-striking employees while engaging in coercive activity observed or known by those being videotaped or threaten to release the photographs, names, addresses or photographs of non-striking employees

“We will not prevent any non-striking employee from accessing a COMPANY vehicle or COMPANY vehicles or the personal vehicles of non-striking COMPANY employees.

“WE will not threaten to fine or cause the discharge of non-member employees because they cross a picket line or refuse to go on strike.

“We will not threaten to cause any employee’s discharge if they do not engage in strike or picketing of COMPANY or any neutral person doing business with company.

“We will not attempt to harass or intimidate employees or security guards on COMPANY property by using mirrors to reflect sunlight into the eyes of COMPANY drivers or use mirrors or laser pointers to shine light into the eyes or video cameras of security guards.”

And that’s just page one!

Click here to read the full column.

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75 Comments so far ↓

  • Nanotek

    Hoffa clearly spoke of an army of voters taking out tea-party politicians at the ballot box

    wage-earners got their wake up call from Wisconsin … got it … Hoffa was spot on


    violence against workers producing goods sold in America is endemic in the face of goper silence … care to add some context here?

    for example, Republicans champion the U.S.-Colombia and U.S.-Panama FTA as Columbia right-wingers slaughter Columbian workers who try to organize.

    “Colombia has long been the most dangerous country in the world for trade unionists with almost 4,000 murdered in the past 15 years. Last year saw 128 labor leaders assassinated. Most of the killings have been attributed to right-wing paramilitaries …” http://colombiajournal.org/colombia73.htm

    • paul_gs

      Teamsters use muscle, violence and/or their threat to get what they want, not something so silly as a vote.

      • jquintana

        Voting is such a quaint notion.

      • medinnus

        And Tea Baggers whine and demand Long-Form Birth Certs. and de-legitimize the elected President while using political threats and blackmail to get what they want without having to actually have to make sense to the non-27% whose IQ is measurable above two digits.

        All in all, while I don’t particularly like unions, I hate the Koch-suckers who almost forced the default of the whole country more.

        • jquintana

          What’s wrong with sucking Koch? You’re clearly homophobic.

        • Smargalicious

          +1 Good one jq!

        • paul_gs

          Teabaggers work and flex the political system (except for the birth certificate nonsense) and Teamsters threaten physical and sexual violence.

          Nice contrast between conservatives and progressives.

      • armstp

        Paul gs,

        more bullshit from you. what century are you living in?

        Do you have any proof that Unions use violence?

        So if unions are not using the ballot box then why do they spending millions on political campaigns?

    • JimBob

      No wonder his father took a couple in back of the head and is buried on the ten yard line at Giants stadium

  • armstp

    good for Hoffa…. but, his language is still nothing compared to what we have heard at your average Tea Party rally…

  • paul_gs

    Beautiful.

    =“We will not threaten to kill or inflict bodily harm, make throat slashing motions, make gun pointing motions, challenge or threaten to fight or assault employees, threaten to sexually assault non-striking employees or their family members, threaten to follow non-striking employees to their homes, use racial epithets or obscene gestures at non-striking employees . . .”=

    Progressives set an example all Americans can aspire to.

    • TerryF98

      You obviously never learned the word “NOT”

      Like you never learned the phrase. “it’s not good to tell lies”

    • jquintana

      It’s rather interesting that they have to remind themselves NOT to do these things. “Ok, now everybody write on the chalkboard 100 times: I will NOT beat my wife tonight after the Teamsters meeting, I will NOT beat my wife tonight after the Teamsters meeting…”

      • Primrose

        Because where there is human conflict, there is the ability to for violence. An honest person addresses this with their membership, as opposed to pretending that it could never happen.

        And let us not forget that how much violence was inflicted upon union members, particularly early on. There is a reason the teamsters invited the mob in and it wasn’t because the bosses were all let’s discuss matters like gentlemen.

        • paul_gs

          ^ Apologist for Teamster violence. ^

        • Primrose

          How precisely am I approving violence by not thinking language forbidding violence is reasonable?

        • paul_gs

          Why would the NLRB have to spell out all this stuff for the Teamsters? The Teamsters didn’t know that threatening to rape women was illegal? Is that what you are implying?

      • anniemargret

        Who cares what they say? They’re teamsters for cryin’ out loud! Didn’t you ever see On the Waterfront? Just another slice of Americana.

        You guys getting the vapors over this is hilarious, given you got a bunch of yokels who show up at TP gatherings with guns…just to make sure we know they have em.

    • MSheridan

      Teamsters as poster-children for progressive values? You have gotta be kidding me. This is the union agribusiness traditionally used to intimidate and brutalize the UFW when farmworkers picketed fields and businesses. My dad was a union organizer and growing up I thought “Teamster” was synonomous with “traitor to labor” and “goon”. Besides which, everyone knew they had Mob ties. They were the union of Jimmy Hoffa, Sr., fercrissake.

      I’ve heard (anecdotally) they’ve gotten considerably cleaner since then. But you could be considerably cleaner and still be pretty damn dirty. I can’t imagine anyone who is not a Teamster holding that union up as an icon for progressives.

    • MSheridan

      Almost forgot to mention, the idea that unions are universally liberal, progressive, or even left-wing is a common misconception.

      The AFL-CIO’s part in the Hard Hat Riot ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hard_Hat_Riot ) may seem like ancient history to you, but as a modern example the CCPOA (California Correctional Peace Officers Association) exercises huge and harmful influence over California’s politics and budget, and it does not do so from the left.

  • Oldskool

    Right wingers should thank him. It gives them another chance to go on Fox and whine like victims.

    • jquintana

      We learned victimization from the best…you left-wingers have it down to a science.

      • more5600

        Total BS. the victims on the left were actual victims; discriminated against minorities, the poor, the disabled, etc., the right is in a constant state of victimization, everyday on Rush and every night on Fox. There is a difference between standing up for the victimized, and being a whiner for political and economy gain.

      • anniemargret

        But you still got La Palin – She’s the Master!

  • jakester

    Hoffa specifically mentioned using the voting booth as his way of fighting, But the rw jerks would rather ignore the rest of his sentence, as usual. This is why I could never be a good con, I try to look at all the evidence, not be a knee jerk fool & jump to the most ignorant hysterical conclusion.

    • Elvis Elvisberg

      It’s rather pathetic that– even after his excommunication from the Republican Party and its PR firms like the American Enterprise Institute– David Frum spends so much time and effort trying to perfume the turd that is modern conservatism.

      There’s absolutely nothing here. Hoffa said that union members should vote against Republicans. Now Republicans are claiming victimhood.

      In a GOP without substantive political views, all they have left is their group identity. See, e.g.: http://www.salon.com/news/politics/war_room/2011/01/17/persecuted_republicans

    • paul_gs

      Jakester, Teamsters are going to beat people up in the voting booth too??

    • torourke

      So would you have looked at the evidence of Jared Lee Loughner’s mental illness, his antipathy towards Giffords going back to 2007, his bizarre ramblings on the internet, and and then conclude that this was clearly the work of someone motivated by the right-wing hate machine? Because those ever-so-empirical liberals like Paul Krugman, Andrew Sullivan, and Keith Olbermann all connected his rampage to right-wing rhetoric without a shred of evidence to back it up. That’s why what Hoffa said matters. It is indistinguishable from the sort of rhetoric used by Palin (or Markos Moutlisas, who also put a target on Giffords’s district), and yet when a psycho goes on a rampage in Tucson then the left gets to launch a series of extended lectures on the need for the right to tone down their use of violent imagery and rhetoric. Of course, that was before it became okay to call Scott Walker Hitler, to call Republicans terrorists during the debt-ceiling debate, for Andre Carson to suggest that Tea Partiers wanted to lynch blacks, Hoffa’s rhetoric, etc.

  • ottovbvs

    Of course it’s totally unheard of for employers to use intimidation and hardball tactics against unions or their employees who might wish to join a union. Either Frum is stupid beyond belief or merely being disingenuous.

    • paul_gs

      Threaten to kill workers and rape them or their family?

      Please provide us with the name of a court case in the last ten years where a major employer engaged in such disgusting behaviour.

      • Primrose

        Actually, in Illinois state law at one point (up to the late 80′s at least) it was legal to fire someone because he (employee) refused to let you (the boss) have sex with his wife (without her expressed interest either). So, yes, rape was a something employers did.

        For that matter, droit de seigneur theory has been prevalent for most of our history, so that the employer had an assumed right to have sex with female employees, whatever their opinion of the matter might be.

        • paul_gs

          Sure Primrose, keep making stuff up. Whatever you say.

        • Primrose

          I have never made stuff up, unless it was specifically labeled fiction, so I’m taking a page from Otto and not letting you get away with such lies.

          It’s called free will employment and I remember being shocked to my core reading that (I was helping a friend with a project for class.). And there was more than one case, that ran along these lines. The court said the employer had the right to fire.

          And why don’t you look up the term Droit de Seigneur?

        • PatrickQuint

          “And why don’t you look up the term Droit de Seigneur?”

          I looked it up. Turns out it’s fiction. The only evidence of it seems to be in fiction, with characters outraged about its existence. There is no record by any woman ever actually encountering the practice. Nor did any husband ever write about their wife being the victim of it.

          “It’s called free will employment and I remember being shocked to my core reading that (I was helping a friend with a project for class.).”

          I couldn’t find any law or ruling by the name “free will employment”. Considering its relationship to the myth you mentioned, could this one also be a fabrication? I think that if this had happened people would have heard more about it, particularly from the husbands involved. Considering historical views on adultery I’ll take institutionalized adultery with a grain of salt.

          I know it sounds truthy and all, and it lets people look back on earlier ages as barbaric, but the facts just aren’t there. If it makes you feel better, I was certainly outraged after watching Braveheart. Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately), Braveheart and historical accuracy are no closer than passing acquaintances (they wave politely when they see each other on the street).

        • paul_gs

          Primrose, when you make stuff up, at least try and make it somewhat plausible.

  • Frumplestiltskin

    This is the freaking teamsters, I can’t believe the prissiness of Republicans. Oh, heavens, a teamster used rough language, I do swear I have the vapors. Funny how the Teamsters were a fine union when they endorsed Reagan. As “communications director,” or official spokesman, of the Teamsters, Jackie Presser helped to swing the union’s support to Reagan in the 1980 campaign, and was named a senior labor adviser to one of Reagan’s transition teams.

    As I grew up the teamsters were the most corrupt union in America, half run by the mob, most of the time they didn’t care about the workers, when I was in college I worked at a Teamsters “Union” shop where the Union was in the pocket of the owner. All of the factory workers were Haitian immigrants making minimum wage and I was hired as a oart tune supervisor to make sure they worked. And the Union was far more corrupt then, yet that did not prevent Saint Ronald the Jesus from accepting their endorsement. I don’t know how corrupt they are now or if they even are and I should not hold it against Hoffa who his father was but this faux outrage is just ridiculous.

    • paul_gs

      Teamsters have a track record of violence, that’s why people pay attention when their rhetoric gets nasty again.

      • Frumplestiltskin

        you really are this stupid aren’t you that you can’t distinguish between Union thugs terrorizing a small business owner and political boilerplate. This is just effing pathetic.
        I say again, if the Teamsters endorsed the Republicans you wouldn’t mind this at all.
        And I would myself not care as I said, I know the history of the teamsters, I don’t place much faith in them at all but I am not going to have a hissy fit over this.
        Again, there is a huge difference between a Politician who hopes to lead ALL of America using this kind of rhetoric and a private person. So get a damn grip.

        • paul_gs

          Frumple states:

          =” you can’t distinguish between Union thugs terrorizing a small business owner and political boilerplate . . .”=

          So you’re ok with some union thugs terrorizing a business if the business is a small one? Thanks for clearing that up.

        • Frumplestiltskin

          wow, you have the reading comprehension of a child. Um…I would have imagined my using words like “thugs” and “terrorize” , and previously called them corrupt and mob ruled would have led you to the realization that no, I do not approve of teamsters terrorizing small business owners. You really are a stupid man, aren’t you?
          And I am not being sarcastic, I really, truly think you are a stupid man to not have realized the import of these words.

          Here is a thing about language, if I say I think that Casey Anthony is a sociopathic, evil, murdering bitch that means I don’t approve of her killing her daughter, mm kk? And that I have to explain this to you is it literally astounding that there are people as truly stupid as you in America yet who can still operate a computer.

        • jakester

          You obviously have a really tiny mind that enjoys being outraged because you are so superficial you don’t even bother to read not just the whole paragraph, but the whole sentence.

      • anniemargret

        Oh how silly. This whole topic is silly. No one in America cares what Hoffa said. It doesn’t impact them.

        But the GOP and their nihilism impacts them. And that’s what counts.

        • paul_gs

          Lot’s of people care what Hoffa and the Teamsters say. It’s why this story has legs, because violence is casually acceptable for too many progressives if the violence and rhetoric come from the left.

        • jakester

          Name me one national liberal politician or major operator today who is egging people on to violence and using it for political gain?? I’m sure you can find some anarchist group here or there smashing Starbuck’s windows at G7 Summits but name me one person or group of any national standing engaged in political violence on the left? Just curious.

        • paul_gs

          I’ll name one. Democrats!

          Look at this ‘Targeting Strategy’ map taking people ‘behind enemy lines’ at the Democratic Leadership Council’s webite. What an incitement to violence!

          http://www.dlc.org/ndol_ci.cfm?contentid=253055&kaid=127&subid=171

          Scary, scary stuff!

        • valkayec

          Hogwash!

    • Primrose

      It’s the blatant hypocrisy that gets me. A teamster says take out, which can just as easily mean take out of the game, in one speech and its days and days of whining about the language.

      Their side can call for 2nd amendment solutions, call for the assassination of Mr. Obama, carry guns to rallies, put targets on politicians, have large men stomp on a small woman with whom they disagree, kill abortion doctors, and even have someone attempt to kill one of the politicians who had target put on them, and what do they say?

      It’s so unfair to blame us. It’s just a metaphor.

      Republicans are all for tough love an sacrifice, so long as someone else has to do it.

      • paul_gs

        Oh brother, where to start Primmy?

        =”Their side can call for 2nd amendment solutions . . .”=

        Talk about twisting words.

        =”. . . call for the assassination of Mr. Obama,”=

        Where? When? Even the Secret Service have never heard that stuff.

        =” . . . carry guns to rallies,”=

        People carry guns in the US? Who knew?

        =” . . . put targets on politicians,”=

        Democrats put targets on politicians, Palin put a target on a map for crying out loud.

        =” . . .kill abortion doctors,”=

        Say what? You probably blame every Muslim for the 9/11 attacks too.

        =” . . . and even have someone attempt to kill one of the politicians who had target put on them, and what do they say?”=

        Jeezus. Loughner was a lefty and a Truther to boot. He was sick for years but none of his lefty friends or lefty art school professors lifted a finger to get him help.

        Give it up Primmy, you’re pathetic.

        • Primrose

          OK, Paul if you are going to call people pathetic, get your facts right. Not only has someone called for the assassination of the president, the court ruled it protected speech. I think there was an article on this very site about it.

          How can one not interpret 2nd amendment solutions to indicate violent overthrow if you are saying citizens need them to deal with a government they disapprove of. What do you think guns do? They hurt people.

          Carrying a gun to a political rally is a threatening gesture, and silences speech since people will be afraid to disagree to completely. It is not appropriate to bring to a rally. Keep it in your glove compartment, if you are incapable of moving without said security blanket.

          Nowhere did I say that all republicans kill abortion doctors, but those who do kill abortion doctors are on the right. Fact. Thus, some on the right are very willing to use violence instead of the vote, and their words should be judged accordingly.

          Gov. Palin’s map, was a map of congressional races. One of which was Giffords. The rhetoric in the midst of this symbol was very heated and evoked violence. If you don’t like what Mr. Hoffa said, you shouldn’t like what Gov. Palin did either. Once Rep. Giffords, and the others standing with her, were targeted, more than one dying from their wounds, you should have been abashed. The right was not.

          Yet you think words suddenly mean something now and go on and on about it. So hypocrisy.

          As for your attempt to tag Loughner a lefty, really, though his strongest ideology was anti-big government, that really defines the word pathetic.

        • paul_gs

          ==”The rhetoric in the midst of this symbol was very heated and evoked violence.”==

          Uh uh. No violence was evoked. Loughner was not motivated by some old campaign poster, especially since he never saw it.

          ==”Once Rep. Giffords, and the others standing with her, were targeted, more than one dying from their wounds, you should have been abashed.. The right was not.”==

          The right was horrified. And offered sincere condolences. The Left, led by Olbermann, Krugman and other Democrats, decided the slaughter was instead an opportunity to engage in a blood libel against Sarah Palin.

          ==”As for your attempt to tag Loughner a lefty, really, though his strongest ideology was anti-big government, that really defines the word pathetic.”==

          Loughner was a Truther. He was only anti-GWB government. You really don’t think he went to an arts college because he was a neo-con, do you?

        • jakester

          No Loughner was a psycho like you, except he was a little more original and smarter. I never blamed anyone but his own sick mind for what he did. I’m sure he had no friends that cared either. Talk about pathetic, you sound like some adolescent dittohead.

  • JimBob

    Unions are parasites. When is the last time one of the Big Three built an auto plant in the United States??? But foreign auto producers flock to the United States. They locate in right to work states of course.

    • Frumplestiltskin

      wow Jimbob, you are such a moron that I almost laughed out loud
      May 17, 2011|By Gus G. Sentementes, The Baltimore Sun
      As political leaders and corporate officials brandished shovels at a ceremonial groundbreaking Tuesday, Martinez Fernandez mused on the importance of the day: A new General Motors plant would be built in White Marsh, a development that would mean more work, more jobs — and more pride.

      Oh, wait, you mean way back in May of this year was soooo long ago (and it is in Maryland, a Union state, schmuck)

      And the only reason foreign automakers built plants in the US was to avoid protectionism, how freaking clueless are you? You really think Hyundai just loves Kentucky you simpleton?

      And you yourself are a parasite, do you even have a job or do you just suck down products you never produced? I bet you have the hands of an 11 year old girl. You give off that very effeminate vibe.
      Everyone on earth is a parasite, unless you can use magic to create something out of nothing we all live off the bounty of the earth.

      Without Labor nothing gets produced, without government labor has no incentive to produce if the threat of others will exist to take it away, from then and only then can capital formation be created, so you really are a parasite of parasites.

      Maybe your astromonaut son can edumucate you.

    • jakester

      While I disagree with your parasite analogy, but unions certainly are a disincentive. No one in their right mind is going to locate a manufacturing plant in a union place when they can do it cheaper in a non union place.

      • Primrose

        That depends on your attitude toward labor. If all you want is to exploit it, getting the cheapest possible workers, sure. But if you value labor and see them as essential to your success, then you would be willing to pay a fair wage for quality work. If you don’t feel the place you might locate provides a quality work force, then you wouldn’t site it a plant there, union or no.

  • Houndentenor

    I am not going to defend Hoffa. I think I had heard of him once before this speech. I don’t like violent rhetoric. I don’t like it when I hear it in my parents’ Baptist Church (watch Jesus Camp if you want to hear some examples), I don’t like it from TeaPartiers and I didn’t like it here. I have no problem calling out everyone. I don’t think 99% of the people using this kind of language really mean it, but in a civil society we are expected to avoid saying things and if we claim not to have meant them “that way” that’s proof that they were better left unsaid.

    Of course the question is, why didn’t we read about every occurrence of this from the right over the last year in this space?

    • Primrose

      This is my feeling Houndentenor. I don’t think it was a great use of language but the level of outrage seems misplaced when it comes from people quick to dismiss such worries elsewhere.

  • SpartacusIsNotDead

    So to provide context to a portion of a statement that Hoffa made on Monday, Frum provides a copy of a 2003 settlement agreement between the Teamsters and the NLRB.

    Of course, if Frum really wanted to provide context (and if he was intellectually honest), he would simply provide the entire relevant portion of Hoffa’s comment, which was: “Everybody here’s got to vote. If we go back & keep the eye on the prize, let’s take these sons of bitches out . . . ”

    But Frum won’t do this because he’s not intellectually honest and because Hoffa’s full quote is essentially the exact same thing that Michelle Bachman said at a Tea Party rally. It’s clear to any sane, intellectually honest person that both Hoffa and Bachman were referring to the power of the vote and not to violence.

    Unfortunately, sanity and intellectual honesty have completely vacated the Right.

  • NRA Liberal

    Anyone who thinks the gains of labor came by being nice and playing fair doesn’t know labor history.

    Look up the Great Railroad Strike, or the Homestead Strike.

    You’re basically talking about open warfare.

    It was ugly as hell in the past and it’s going to be ugly again. People have forgotten the brutal realities of class war on both sides of the fence.

    • Primrose

      I agree NRA Liberal. It was ugly, which is why there are such specific prescriptions. Strikes get ugly. But it isn’t just a matter of the strikers, the bosses/company (looking for a good value free term here) were plenty violent.

      Again, if I recall my history properly, Jimmy Hoffa is supposed to have invited the mob to join the teamsters because he couldn’t protect his people. Not a call I recommend to be sure but it should be understood in historical context.

    • valkayec

      It’s not that people have “forgotten” labor history, they never learned it to begin with.

  • sparse

    the whole thing smacks of the fox news hyperventilation over a couple of two-bit nitwits standing outside a philly polling place.

    teamsters are not left/progressive. hoffa was clearly using a metaphor to talk about voting. yes, he should have used a different metaphor, as his was not helpful, but there is no actual defcon 1 here.

    most importantly- nra liberal got this right, and i have seen firsthand in my life, strikes are life and death struggles, and they get ugly as all hell, on both sides. every threat, assualt and attack from a union person has been matched, and often overmatched, by a “security guard” hired by the companies being struck. so until paul gs speaks as scornfully of some of america’s most storied corporations for their predilection for violence as he does of unions, i will feel free to ignore him entirely.

    hey frum- i just compared you to fox news.

    • paul_gs

      More equivocation justifying violent tactics by unions. Unions have always been the more violent and intimidating party.

    • torourke

      I see a couple of people now suggesting that the Teamsters are not progressive. Or at least their history has not dovetailed with the progressive agenda. Fine then. So did Hoffa just get lost and by chance end up on a platform denouncing the Tea Party a few minutes before Obama was set to give a campaign-style speech in Detroit? He explicitly said that the Teamsters were part of Obama’s army, but what, that’s supposed to be some coded message that they really are conservative, or independent, or classically liberal? Get real.

  • valkayec

    Mr. Frum, thank you for acknowledging the fact that people are frustrated and their anger at Congress is growing. I often read the comments sections on various columns and blogs. Invariably someone will write that unless businesses and congress change course to help labor (workers) and turn around the inequity, there will be violence coming or a bloody revolution. Even some columnists have speculated on the possibility of some kind of revolt.

    The nation cannot continue on this path; yet, I don’t hear anyone in the GOP, outside of you, Bartlett and a few disabused others, acknowledging this discontent. You know, I simply cannot imagine Reagan and all the other great Republicans of previous generations ignoring the rising anger, discontent and frustration at rapidly growing wage inequity, lack of social mobility, and flat or decreasing incomes. So, it’s hard for me to understand what happened to the Grand Ol’ Party that now completely ignores the welfare of the working classes. When did labor become less prized than clipping coupons?

    • paul_gs

      Revolt/violence/bloody revolution.

      Interesting how violent rhetoric is completely acceptable when it is left-wing thugs and their progressive supporters who are the violent parties.

  • Polifan

    Negative rhetoric does not help regardless of party.

  • PatrickQuint

    I’ll be happy to condemn both thuggish unions and thuggish corporations. I don’t know which side ended up killing more people in the struggle to get workers’ right, but I have a feeling it was the side with more money. I could be wrong, though.

    Considering the language of that settlement, I strongly suspect that there are some thugs in the Teamsters. Also, I suspect that corporations in America hire thugs with which to intimidate strikers.

    (Am I in the running for the “points out the obvious” award yet?)

    If not:

    Mr. Laughner did not appear to have any coherent political views, and the shooting of the congressman and the killing of others (including a federal judge and a little girl) seems unrelated to political rhetoric. Mrs. Palin was blamed for the death of a child where she held no responsibility, which in my estimation justifies the use of the term “blood libel”. She cries wolf a lot, but as the story goes the wolf did eventually come for the livestock.

    Not all unions are leftist. This should have the effect of deflecting some of the blame for union thuggishness away from the left. It should also have the effect of dispelling the idea that only leftists speak with the voice of working people. Unions are often made up of people with some college or university education but without a post-graduate degree, a demographic that tends to vote Republican. Considering the demographics, it’s not surprising to see that some unions are not leftist.

  • BenMcT

    David, This post is disingenuous or naive. The text you published is instructions to members about the behavior of individuals ON THE PICKET LINE. Have you ever witnessed a picket, by any union? Tensions can run high, and anger at people crossing the line can lead to very stupid actions. The union is telling its members not to do anything stupid…like threatening to kill people crossing the line or throwing things at vehicles. The need to deliver such instructions is not a reflection of the fact that the picketers are Teamsters, but rather the fact that they are human beings. One need only look at any political rally where participants confront a counter-demonstration to see people engaging in precisely the kinds of behavior and using precisely the sort of rhetoric that the union is instructing against in the text you provided.