Labor News From Our Region
Paid petitioners offered $1,000 reward to provoke union fight over phony RTW petition
Chicago-hired carpetbaggers get $3 – $5 a signature; told to lie to public; provoke union member into a fight
By ED FINKELSTEIN
Petitioners hired from Chicago to get signatures on a deceptive “right-to-work” petition in Missouri have been offered a $1,000 bonus to evoke a fight with a union member, the Labor Tribune has learned.
Union members are urged to avoid ANY confrontation with these petition signers, at least 30 of whom have been hired from Chicago via a temp agency. Given they are trying to provoke a fight, rest assured someone is nearby with a camera hoping to get video of a union member that they can later call a “union thug beating up a petitioner.”
$1,000 BONUS FOR A FIGHT
This latest revelation comes from Roy Gillespie Sr., Human Rights Commissioner for Teamsters Joint Council 13, who learned about this $1,000 bounty bonus talking with an individual who approached a petitioner about wanting a job and would like to join their signature-gathering effort.
This “fight bonus” is in addition to the carpetbaggers being paid $3-$5 per signature in an effort put a RTW Constitutional Amendment on the November ballot to enshrine RTW as Missouri law in our constitution. If the NO on Prop A vote in August to stop RTW is successful, this constitutional amendment, if passed, would nullify it.
CUSSED OUT, LOOKING FOR A FIGHT
Gillespie personally experienced the effort to create a fight at a Dollar Tree store in Ferguson, where he encountered three petitioners.
When Gillespie confronted one of the petitioners and asked to see a copy of the petition, this man said he didn’t need to read it, that it was just to create jobs in the community. When Gillespie insisted and read it, he discovered it was the phony RTW petition.
“Why did you lie to me,” Gillespie asked, letting him know he was a union member and didn’t appreciate him lying about it. The reply, “Are you signing or not?”
As Gillespie began walking to his car, all three carpetbaggers began cursing and screaming at him. One said he was a deputy sheriff. When told that wasn’t true, the three began taunting him again.
“I knew they were tying to get me to fight so they could video it, but I wasn’t falling for it,” Gillespie told the Labor Tribune. “Have a great day” he said and drove away.
Before the confrontation, Gillespie listened as another gatherer told an elderly lady, “This is to bring jobs to the community.” When she said she didn’t have her glasses, he assured her she didn’t need to read it, it was for jobs and she should sign it. Gillespie told her that was a lie. She didn’t sign.
Pat White, president of the St. Louis Labor Council, also encountered petition gatherers, in Bridgeton, Clayton and DesPeres. He discovered they are using a two-step approach to deceiving people on the RTW issue:
• First, they are asked to sign a petition that would require a public vote before moving any public monuments, playing off the publicity about the City of St. Louis moving Confederate statues in Forest Park.
• Then the gatherer subtly offers the RTW petition telling the person the big lie: that this petition is about creating jobs hoping that, as they already signed the first petition and are anxious to move on, they will sign this as well without paying much attention.
READ BEFORE YOU SIGN
Please know that there are NO LEGITIMATE RTW petitions on the street.
While there are some valid petition drives underway to clean up Missouri politics (Clean Missouri initiative to hold politicians accountable), make ensure you don’t sign the WRONG petition by READING IT FIRST, rather than relying on what any petitioner tells you. If it says “right-to-work” anywhere, it’s a phony.
Read before you sign; DO NOT confront petitioners
With paid, out-of-state pro-RTW petitioners on the street trying to put RTW into the Missouri Constitution, union members are urged to take note:
• NO RTW PETITION – There is no legitimate RTW petition on the street being sponsored by Labor. This is a pro-RTW petition that, if successful, would put RTW in the Missouri Constitution. Our effort to defeat RTW – Proposition A – is already on the ballot for either August or November. Vote NO on Prop. A to defeat RTW.
• READ BEFORE YOU SIGN – Union members are urged to spread the word to their families, friends and neighbors to please READ BEFORE YOU SIGN any petition. If it says anything about the phony so-called “right-to-work,” DO NOT SIGN IT.
• NO CONFRONTATION – Whatever you do, DO NOT confront any petition gatherers. St. Louis Labor Council President Pat White said: “We know they are looking to video a fight to use in a TV commercial or a flyer. Don’t get suckered. Please just walk away.”
IF YOU SEE SOMEONE CIRCULATING ONE OF THESE PHONY RTW PETITIONS, don’t engage them. Call the Missouri AFL-CIO DECLINE 2 SIGN Hotline at 573-340-6573.
DON’T SIGN ANYTHING until you read it, then DECLINE TO SIGN the petition supporting RTW.