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Labor tries to soften image with 'hug a union thug' booth in Charlotte
The Hill ^ | 9/03/12 | Kevin Bogardus

Posted on 09/03/2012 3:37:03 AM PDT by Libloather

Labor tries to soften image with 'hug a union thug' booth in Charlotte
By Kevin Bogardus - 09/03/12 05:00 AM ET

This Labor Day, unions are trying a mix of celebrity, social media and humor to polish up the labor movement’s image in the eyes of everyday people.

In Charlotte, people will be asked to “hug a union thug” at a CarolinaFest booth sponsored by the North Carolina State AFL-CIO the day before the Democratic National Convention officially begins. Also in honor of Monday, videos are being posted online thanking workers while actors and athletes will use Twitter to express support for union rights.

The effort comes as labor has seen increased attacks from Republican-controlled state legislatures and governors since the 2010 elections. Unions were unsuccessful in their attempt earlier this summer to oust Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) after he pushed through legislation that curbed some public workers’ collective bargaining rights.

MaryBe McMillan, secretary-treasurer for the North Carolina State AFL-CIO, said the state labor federation wanted to break down stereotypes regarding union members by dishing out the hugs.

“We see this as an opportunity to dispel that stereotype that union members are mean, scary and violet. What better way to disarm folks than to hug them?” McMillan said. “Union members take care of you in the hospital, deliver your packages and sit next you in church. We are just average folks.”

McMillan hopes the hugs will help draw people into the federation’s booth, which will show videos of union members running the Guide Dogs of America program, rebuilding the Word Trade Center and so on. Further, expect to see photos of people embracing union members at

“This will help draw people into our exhibit space and we will be able to show them how unions help build the middle class and why they should support the right to organize,” McMillan said.

The cuddle campaign will be only one aspect of labor’s effort to highlight union members’ and other workers’ good deeds.

The AFL-CIO is asking people online to thank workers for the jobs they do every day. In one video, actor Martin Sheen of “The West Wing” thanked his newspaper delivery person.

Union leaders, like Leo Gerard of the United Steelworkers, Harold Schaitberger of the International Association of Fire Fighters and AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, also contributed videos.

In an email sent to activists last week, AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler asked people to post videos and thank workers.

“No matter what you do, work connects us all. We depend on one another’s work. Together, it’s how we build, create, teach, re-wire, heal and grow what’s important,” Shuler said in the email. “On behalf of everyone at the AFL-CIO, and the millions of workers we’re proud to represent: thanks for the work you do. It means the world to us.”

Others are taking to Twitter to support union members.

American Rights at Work, a worker rights advocacy group, along with several unions — including the Major League Baseball Players Association, the National Football League Players Association as well as the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists — have organized a Labor Day Weekend “tweet-a-thon.”

Actors and athletes will be on Twitter to show support for union members and say they’re proud to be part of organized labor, signing their tweets with #unionmember.

The appeal to people’s softer side is necessary to counter union opponents’ attempts to undermine labor, according to union leaders.

“Especially considering the attacks on workers and unions over the past two years, it is definitely incumbent upon us to fight back against the stereotypes and the propaganda of the other side,” McMillan said.

The soft sell also comes as Democrats head into Charlotte for their convention. The choice of Charlotte angered several in labor due to North Carolina’s status as a right-to-work state and having the lowest union density in the country.

“I understand national labor leaders' discontent with the convention being held in an anti-union state like North Carolina,” McMillan said.

But the North Carolina union leader cited several reasons on why Charlotte could benefit labor, such as the convention giving jobs to the unemployed as well as union members; the event would highlight labor's struggle for worker rights in North Carolina; and the convention could help Democratic candidates down the ticket in the state.

“For all those reasons, I think it's good that the convention is here,” McMillan said.

TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Extended News; Government; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: charlotte; dnc; thugs; unions
They take your loot and cop a feel.
1 posted on 09/03/2012 3:37:09 AM PDT by Libloather
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To: Libloather

Another criminal enterprise

2 posted on 09/03/2012 3:43:53 AM PDT by ronnie raygun (bb)
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To: Libloather

If the local RNC hasn’t already posted several interns on a couple of strategically located street corners with a fist full of tens making the offer to every crackhead, he-she, and homeless occupy dude around of ten now...ten after....go hug a thug.

3 posted on 09/03/2012 3:45:12 AM PDT by Vigilantcitizen (Dave Mustaine for president.)
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To: Libloather

Why am I remninded of a scorpion and a frog?

4 posted on 09/03/2012 3:59:23 AM PDT by piytar (The predator-class is furious that their prey are shooting back.)
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To: Libloather

When I was a skinny teen, not even fully grown, two muscular union thugs threatened me over a “labor issue” with my summer job. I will never forgive unions for that crime and for the hundreds of thousands of similar crimes committed in the name of the AFL/CIO, Teamsters, UAW, SEIU, and similar corrupt organizations.

5 posted on 09/03/2012 4:07:52 AM PDT by Pollster1 (Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. - Ronald Reagan)
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To: Libloather

Yeah - letting them “give me a hug” is going to result in my learning to love union thugs. They might also want to remember that, in Charlotte, they are preaching to the choir. Those of us who see unions for the robber-barons they are won’t be in attendance.

6 posted on 09/03/2012 4:30:46 AM PDT by onevoter
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To: onevoter

plug a thug? slug a thug?

7 posted on 09/03/2012 5:01:22 AM PDT by HiTech RedNeck (let me ABOs run loose, lew (or is that lou?))
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To: onevoter

“We see this as an opportunity to dispel that stereotype that union members are mean, scary and violent. What better way to disarm folks than to hug them?”

I mean, you can’t make this stuff up.

“Hey! Come over here and get a hug. I said get over here!
Yo! I’m talking to you! Either you get a hug or you get the &^%$ beat out of you! Ya hear me? Which’ll it be!!?”


8 posted on 09/03/2012 5:11:09 AM PDT by elcid1970 (Nuke Mecca now. Death to Islam means freedom for all mankind. Deus vult!)
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To: Pollster1
“two muscular union thugs threatened me over a “labor issue” with my summer job. “

More detail would be interesting

9 posted on 09/03/2012 5:18:29 AM PDT by HereInTheHeartland (Encourage all of your Democrat friends to get out and vote on November 7th, the stakes are high.)
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To: Libloather
SEE: Happy Labor Day: Top 10 union thug moments of the year


10. August 16, 2011, across the Northeast. Striking Communications Workers of America declare “open season” on Verizon. Dozens of cases of sabotaged cable lines are reported.

9. February 23, 2011, Washington DC. CWA union thug strikes young female FreedomWorks activist.

8. March 1, 2011, Madison, Wisconsin. Mob rule video: Unhinged crowd corners Wisconsin GOP senator shouting “F**k you,” “Shame!” AFSCME, UFCW, SEIU:

7. August 6, 2011, Boston, MA. Local IBEW 827 storms Verizon VP Bill Foshay’s neighborhood and union members scream “We’re here to fight” in front of his private residence on a weekend afternoon.

6. February 23, 2011, Washington DC. CWA protester screams at FreedomWorks staffer for being a “bad Jew!”

5. February 27, 2011, Madison WI. Union protesters exhibit Fox News Derangement Syndrome:

Tobin said he has received much heckling, and that a teacher even told him she hates him because it made her feel good. The “utter lack of civility and harassment of reporters,” as anchor Gregg Jarrett described it, is truly breathtaking and seems like a weird strategy to try and win support for one’s cause.

And yes, they threatened to break his neck.

4. February 23, 2011, Columbus, OH. Unhinged union protester fumes: “The tea party is a bunch of d**k-sucking corporate butt-lickers who want to crush the working people of this country.”

3. March 1, 2011, Denver CO. Racist SEIU supporters taunt gay black Tea Party activist and entrepreneur Leland Robinson, who criticized teachers unions at a Capitol rally, by calling him “son,” telling him to “get behind that fence where you belong,” and jeering “Do you have any children? That you claim?”

2. February 24, 2011, Providence, R.I. Rhode Island union supporter to cameraman – “I’ll f**k you in the ass, you faggot.” The eruption starts at 7:32 in this video.

1. February 23, 2011. Democrat Rep. Michael Capuano of Mass. revs up Big Labor goons (starts at 1:50 in the video): “Get a little bloody.”

10 posted on 09/03/2012 5:25:21 AM PDT by neveralib
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To: Libloather

“Labor tries to soften image with ‘hug a union thug’ booth in Charlotte”

More to the point, introduce Mr. Union Thug to Ms. Flamethrower. Mmmmmm. Nothing like the smell of roasted union thug!

11 posted on 09/03/2012 5:50:06 AM PDT by MasterGunner01
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