Thu Mar 22, 2012, 06:59 PM
Omaha Steve (65,192 posts)
The surprising new alliance between the Tea Party and labor
FS and I will be shaking hands.
Thursday, Mar 22, 2012 6:45 AM Central Daylight Time
Could an anti-union bill in Georgia erase right-wing protesters too? Tea Partiers aren't taking any chances
By Josh Eidelson
(Credit: AP/Al Grillo/Salon)
Topics:Tea Party, Georgia
When Republicans rode Tea Party anger to large majorities in Georgia’s state Legislature in 2010, it seemed inevitable that sooner or later some of these restive constituents would turn against them. Few, though, would have predicted the cause of an uprising that went down this week: an anti-picketing bill aimed at silencing union members.
On March 7, the Georgia Senate passed SB 469, a bill backed by the state’s Chamber of Commerce and introduced by state senators including Waffle House executive Don Balfour. Along with a battery of other anti-union measures, the bill bans picketing that targets private residences and causes “intimidation” or disturbs the “quiet enjoyment” of local residents. (“Quiet enjoyment” apparently being a more fundamental right than freedom of speech.) SB 469 would increase potential punishments for picketing or “conspiracy,” and it would make it easier for companies to request and receive injunctions from judges halting demonstrations. In a letter to Balfour, Ted Jackson, the sheriff of Georgia’s largest county, wrote that “The role of law enforcement shouldn’t be to police free speech but the intent of this bill seems to be just that.” (Balfour did not respond to Salon’s request for comment.)
Unions began rallying in opposition to the bill shortly after it was introduced last month and have been active ever since. They’ve been joined by several non-labor groups that also see the bill as a threat to their right to demonstrations. Occupy, environmentalist and civil rights activists have warned for weeks that the broadly written bill put their protest rights at risk as well. On Monday, so did the Atlanta Tea Party.
“We were extremely excited when they showed up,” says Georgia AFL-CIO president Charlie Flemming. “We reached out to them, not knowing that they would.”
FULL story at link.
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