In light of a recent plot to put stickers on the products
of targeted companies in grocery stores, Wisconsin AFL-CIO President Phil Nuenfeldt issued a statement
on Thursday claiming "no knowledge" of the plot. His statement reads:
"We have no knowledge beyond unevidenced assertions made to the media by the Wisconsin Grocers Association of any such campaign, but let’s be crystal clear – there are not, nor have there ever been, any boycotts encouraged by our organizations."
While Nuenfeldt is right that the "Sticker Campaign" plot has yet to materialize (according to reports it is supposed to occur on May 1), his statement is profound in its gross disregard for the truth about events in the past two months. Nuenfeldt says that "there are not, nor have there ever been, any boycotts encouraged by our organizations." This is a lie.
On March 30, it was first reported in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
that the Wisconsin State Employees Union (AFSCME Council 24) was circulating a letter among businesses in southeast Wisconsin that demanded the placement of a window sign declaring support for "worker's rights." The letter went on to threaten "failure to do so will leave us no choice but (to) do a public boycott
of your business. And sorry, neutral means 'no' to those who work for the largest employer in the area and are union members." Field Representative for AFSCME Council 24 Jim Parrett "confirmed the contents of the letter, which carries his signature."
Of course, when the boycott letters backfired and public outrage swelled against the tactics, Marty Beil of AFSCME blamed the it on "some overzealousness in the field."
But initially, Parrett was instructed to direct all questions regarding the boycott to Beil who was "not immediately available for comment" when the story broke. Why would Parrett pass the buck up the chain of command if the boycott was his idea alone? He is either stupid or he is being thrown under the bus by his superiors.
So just to complete the circle. Phil Nuenfeldt claims "there are not, nor have there ever been, any boycotts encouraged by our organizations." As a member of the AFL-CIO, AFSCME and Council 24 would be considered one of the AFL-CIO's "organizations" and Council 24 did in fact encourage a boycott of businesses at the end of March.
Just because the tactic backfires doesn't mean you can say it never happened.