Union activists and supporters disrupt event where Mackinac Center expert was invited to speak
Union activists and big labor supporters who were upset that people were gathering in Vancouver, Wash., to talk about worker freedom resorted to violence and intimidation Thursday night, which resulted in a Mackinac Center for Public Policy employee getting spat upon.
F. Vincent Vernuccio, labor policy director at the Mackinac Center, was invited by The Freedom Foundation in Washington and the Cascade Policy Institute in Oregon to speak about the benefits of worker freedom. However, he didn't even get out of his car before he was confronted by protesters.
About 30 protesters holding anti-right-to-work and other signs with union logos and slogans greeted cars entering the parking lot of Clark College, he said. Once in the lot, Vernuccio said he rolled down his window to shake hands with someone, but instead was spat upon by a protester holding a union sign.
He apparently was not alone.
Max Nelsen, labor policy analyst for The Freedom Foundation, said others also were spat at, had their cars stopped by protesters who jumped in front of the vehicles and had their car windshields covered with signs.
Eventually, the protesters made their way inside the building where they yelled at people and chanted union slogans (watch the video here).
Police were called and one person was arrested, said Sgt. Greg Raquer of the Vancouver Police Department.
"The protesters, too cowardly to engage in civilized debate, instead screamed at event organizers and attendees," Trent England, executive vice president of the Freedom Foundation, posted on the group's website.
Those tactics won't help the labor movement, Vernuccio said.
"A year ago, a simple event talking about the policy implications of labor reform may not have garnered much attention." Vernuccio said. "The fact that big labor was so worried about the right-to-work event Thursday shows that the inevitable march of worker freedom is spreading across the country."