Freedom Foundation canvassers recently began working in Orange County (Calif.), and it didn’t take long for the Orange County Employees Association (OCEA) to take notice.
OCEA is one of the largest county employees’ associations in the area and claims to represent more than 18,000 workers.
On our first day canvassing, we enjoyed a relatively peaceful morning. Employees were eager to read our information, and many thanked us for being there. We had a friendly conversation with an employee of the labor relations division who said that he was interested in our work and had for several years been following Janus v. AFSCME, the U.S. Supreme court ruling affirmed the right of public employees to cease union dues payments.
By 10:30 a.m., however, the climate had shifted dramatically. Two OCEA union thugs appeared at the building and began harassing our canvassers. Carlos Rosales, lead organizer for OCEA, attempted to instigate a fight between himself and one of the canvassers by saying, “Go ahead and punch me,” several times.
He later referred to one canvasser — an African-American — with a racial slur.
Unaware of his surrounding, he continued to shout at our canvasser and ran into several groups of public employees returning from a coffee run, attempting to warn them about the dangerously honest information we were handing out.
They responded by asking him to leave them alone.
The union strongarms followed our canvassers around the city, including into a local Starbucks, where they were attempting to take a break from the heat and drink some water. Carlos personally followed me three city blocks back to my vehicle, where he took several pictures of me and more of my vehicle’s license plate.
While harassment by union goons often comes with the territory, the Freedom Foundation will not be intimidated. As Teamsters 1932 learned in San Bernardino County, acting like unhinged lunatics isn’t a good look.
Ultimately, their clumsy efforts to bully us just make our jobs easier. It can be difficult to communicate with an entire bargaining unit, but when their own staffers act like this and send love letters to their members, it makes it much easier to gain recognition with their dues’ payers.
If you’re a public employee in Orange County, ask your local union leader if they are OK with harassment and racist slurs.
And while you’re at it, look outside your building. There may be a Freedom Foundation canvasser nearby, ready to give you the facts you need to make an informed choice.