A major public-sector union in Missouri is demanding that an ad featuring a former union boss be pulled because he’s supporting right-to-work legislation and he’s wearing a shirt featuring the union’s logo, the Washington Free Beacon reports.
The ad features Gary Wiegert, a retired St. Louis police sergeant and former president of the St. Louis Police Officers Association.
Wiegert is one of the more surprising voices in the campaign for Proposition A, a piece of legislation that would stop employers from demanding union dues as a condition of employment. This would pretty much be the death-knell for plenty of public-sector unions, who get away with incredible deals because there’s no actual incentive for government officials to bargain all that hard for a deal when they don’t have to worry about turning a profit.
However, since his retirement, Wiegert has apparently changed his mind on the matter; in the ad, he chastises “out-of-touch union officials” for “lying to you about Prop A.”
“Hey, I’m a retired union leader,” Wiegert tells voters in the ad.
“If workers like their union they can keep it. Prop A just gives them that choice. The verified truth is that Prop A is good for our workers, and that means more for our roads, security and schools.”
You may notice that there’s a logo on his polo shirt. That’s the emblem of the St. Louis Police Officers Association — and as you can guess, the union isn’t happy.
The association has sent a cease-and-desist letter regarding the commercial to the National Right to Work Committee, which produced the ad and has aired it on local television and radio in Missouri markets.
“It is patently obvious that you and the (Yes) campaign are using our copyrighted logo without permission to intentionally mislead Missourians that the SLPOA or its members sanction your anti-worker rhetoric,” the letter reads.
A news release said that the union expelled Wiegert for “unauthorized activities” back in 2012 and has cut all ties with him, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
“The SLPOA and the Fraternal Order of Police encourage their members and police supporters to vote No on Prop A and to ignore the deceptive ads featuring their disgraced former member that attempts to mislead voters into believing that cops support Right To Work and Prop A,” the release read.
The union also said it would “pursue all available legal remedies” against Wiegert.
As for what the “unauthorized activities” were, one can take a wild guess and read between the lines of an emailed statement from union spokesman Jeff Roorda.
“Sgt. Wiegert’s anti-worker positions are no secret to our organization, he has been vocal about them for years,” Roorda said.
“We honor and hold sacred Sgt. Wiegert’s First Amendment rights. However, he doesn’t have a right to misrepresent his status with our organization or to use our copyrighted logo,” he added. “That is the activity we have demanded that he cease and desist. Gary is otherwise free to espouse his opinions no matter how anti-worker and anti-police those opinions may be.”
Another officer confirmed that Wiegert’s issue with the union stemmed from political differences, noting that Wiegert is a “fixture in conservative Republican circles.”
Wiegert pulled a link to the video off of his Facebook page but claims he’s being attacked by a union that is “no longer run by actual police officers, but Democratic hacks.”
“They’re trying to intimidate you anyway they can. That’s politics, I guess. I was surprised it (the letter) was so petty,” he said.
The letter appears to be just one part of a broad union attack on the Trump administration for its efforts to reform the relationship betweet governments and public sector unions.
“I think they’re just trying to attack anyone who tries to stick their heads up…Because I spoke out and am a former union leader, they’re going to come out after me.”
What a shocker, right?
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