AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, gave a speech in Sarah Palin’s home state accusing her of using rhetoric that could lead to violence by her supporters. Trumka’s words were certainly disingenuous, because if anybody has a track record of inciting violence, its Richard Trumka. He had a reign as President of the United Mine Workers where his inflammatory rhetoric lead to bloodshed and death.
Here’s a sampling of what the AFL-CIO leaders said about Sarah Palin today:
And down in Tyler, Texas, she’s talking about — and I quote — ‘union thugs.’ What? Her husband’s a union man. Is she calling him a thug? Sarah Palin ought to know what union men and women are,” Trumka will say. “That’s poisonous. There’s history behind that rhetoric. That’s how bosses and politicians in decades past justified the terrorizing of workers, the murdering of organizers…..She’s using crosshairs to illustrate targeted legislators. She’s on the wrong side of the line there. She’s getting close to calling for violence. And some of her fans take that stuff seriously. We’ve got legislators in America who have been living with death threats since the health care votes.
Governor Palin responded to Trumka on her Facebook page:
Trumka purposely misquoted something I said in a speech I gave in Texas a few months ago. Let me clarify things for him: I never called union members “thugs.” You lie. I called some union leaders “thugs.” And I refuse to apologize for that because they have acted like thugs – at least in this day and age.
The Governor was being too kind. When she talked about some union leaders being thugs, she could have held up a picture of Richard Trumka. During his thirteen years as President of the United Mine Workers of America (1982-1995) he was the poster child for union thuggery. His rhetoric successfully incited violence and even death. Union members who dared to continue to work during a strike were especially targeted for attack by the Union Boss.
Below are some of his incendiary comments.
- “UMWA President Richard Trumka…urged union members to…‘kick the (expletive) out of every last one of ‘em.’” (“Sabotage Attempt Foiled at Peabody Coal Beltline.” Nashville News [Nashville, IL] 8 Sept. 1993)
- “You’d have to be very naïve to believe that if management brought in scabs, there won’t be something somewhere.”(Sands, David R. “Striking miners: Big Coal not serious.” Washington Times 3 Sept. 1993)
- “I’m saying if you strike a match and you put your finger in it, you’re likely to get burned. That doesn’t mean I’m threatening to burn you. That just means if you strike the match, and you put your finger in it, common sense will tell you it’ll burn your finger.”( McClain, John D. “Violence possible UMW chief says.” Virginian-Pilot [Hampton Roads, VA] 3 Sept.1993)
Mr. Trumka can’t be accused of being “all talk.” With the help of his fellow union thugs his words were translated into violent action.
- 1993 UMW strike against Peabody Coal — Eddie York, a 39 year old nonunion worker, “was shot in the back of the head and killed” leaving a job in Logan County, West Virginia. “Guards told police the truck careened across the road and went into a ditch. When guards rushed over to check on York, they continued to be pelted with rocks, guards told police.”(Sanders, Pat. “Trumka calls for peace as probe continues.” Charleston Daily Mail 24 July 1993)
- In a detailed account of the York murder and subsequent investigation, Reader’s Digest noted that “UMW President Richard Trumka did not publicly discipline or reprimand a single striker present when York was killed. In fact, all eight were helped out financially by the local.” Eventually, the union agreed to let the company “dismiss the eight original defendants if they were convicted,” but when the company “issued letters of dismissal to the seven pickets who pleaded guilty,” the union filed a grievance on their behalf.(Fitzgerald, Randy. “Murder in Logan County.” Reader’s Digest Feb. 1995)
- 1985 UMW strike against A.T. Massey Coal — “At the Sprouse Creek Processing Co., Buddy McCoy was a union man who crossed the picket line to become a foreman. ‘I had a family to care for,’ says McCoy, who received a three-stitch gash in the head from marauding strikers after his defection.” (Trippett, Frank. “Violence in the Coalfields.” Time. 21 June 2005)
- 1989 UMW strike against Pittston Coal — Virginia Circuit Court JudgeDonald McGlothlin Jr. declared that “the evidence shows beyond any shadow of a doubt that violent activities are being organized, orchestrated and encouraged by the leadership of this union.” (Feder, Don. “Senate takes a walk on issue of labor unrest.” Boston Herald 29 Apr. 1990)
- Unanimous Virginia Supreme Court reinforced Judge McGlothlin’s findings: “Union officials took active roles in these unlawful activities. Notwithstanding the large fines, the Union never represented to the court that it regretted or intended to cease its lawless actions. To the contrary, the utter defiance of the rule of law continued unabated.” (Miller, Steven. “Louts and Rat World.” Nevada Journal July 1990)
Even after he left the Union to go to the AFL-CIO, Trumka incited violence in the UMWA
- When Trumka and UMWA President Cecil Roberts came to Bentleyville, Pennsylvania in April 1998, fifty rank-and-file union members gathered outside the hall where they spoke to protest their leaders’ policies. “Within minutes,” wrote leftwing journalist Paul Scherrer, “a group of UMWA officials and their supporters attacked the protesting miners, ripping leaflets and protest signs from their hands. Several miners were punched, knocked to the ground and kicked repeatedly. [Richard] Cicci was hit with a piece of lumber and suffered a large gash on his head.” “Richard Trumka,” reported Scherrer, “refused to answer questions about the assault.” In other words, by his silence he gave tacit assent to such violence.
Before he brands other people as using incendiary language AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka should look at his own house, because he is a union thug of the worst kind. Sarah Palin has never told people to harm others. On the other hand, as UMWA President Richard Trumka, used rhetoric that not only seemed to be calling for violence, but excused it after it happened.