Photo: Police search trash can after hate mail included powder substance mailed to home of workers’ rights advocate.
By Joe Mandrusiak
Since the Freedom Foundation’s expansion into the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania at the start of 2020, our outreach has successfully helped more than 3,000 public employees break free from the bondage of their union.
With success, however, comes an expected defense from our opposition — in our case is well-financed government employee unions. As outreach director in Pennsylvania, I’ve seen my fair share of attacks, from targeted hate mail and veiled threats to the unions themself calling our work propaganda.
You might expect grown adults could express their differences, however passionate they may be, in a civil manner. Yet the level of profane, homophobic and outright appalling language directed at me is astonishing.
These are public employees working for institutions taxpayers put their trust in. These are people we entrust with our tax dollars to protect our health, or safety and our livelihoods.
I have no issue at all with dealing with these childish attacks. But when attacks on me directly affect the safety of my family and myself, I draw a line.
On Nov. 29, I received a piece of hate mail from an AFSCME 13 union member that included a white powdery substance inside the envelope. This resulted in federal postal agents, a county HAZMAT team and local police responding to my home — the home in which my wife and I raise our 1-year-old son.
This is an incident that should never occur, no matter the amount of hate or anger one may have about the work I do.
My message to this union member and big labor unions at large is clear, I will not back down.
I will not be intimated; I will not cease from the crucial work in front of me.
The right of public employees to opt out of the union and cease paying dues was affirmed in 2018 by the U.S. Supreme Court in Janus v AFSCME. My job is to let the workers know what their union is trying to keep from them.
All I want is for public employees to be free of union bullying when they seek to exercise their constitutional right to keep the money they earn in their own pockets rather lining the pockets of union bosses who know no boundaries when it comes to unlawful intimidation and the trampling of individual rights.