News Story

Union Twists Man’s Inspirational Bootstrap Story Into Smear

‘Misguided human beings . . . using other people as pawns’

Several years ago, a mid-Michigan construction worker was featured in a video posted to the Facebook page of the Greater Michigan Construction Academy.

Mike Crosson was a graduate and former instructor at the academy, a trades training program affiliated with the Michigan chapter of Associated Builders and Contractors, a national trade association of nonunion businesses.

His message to the dozen or so prospective trainees in attendance when the video was filmed? Achieving your goals of secure, well-paid employment that will support your dreams and a happy family will require sacrifice and perseverance. You’ll struggle and be disappointed along the way. But with grit and the skills you can acquire in a training program like the construction academy, it’s attainable.

Crosson illustrated his presentation with a slideshow depicting his wife and growing family over the years and the wreck of a home he rehabbed into “my own little oasis.” He said, “I couldn’t have gotten there without this school” and “without working hard ... doing what I needed to do.”

The 14-minute inspirational video, buried on the academy’s Facebook page, had garnered all of 45 views in the two years since it was posted.

The video was reincarnated in late June as a heavily edited three-minute clip published on the Facebook page of a union-sponsored group calling itself ABCTruth.

As of last week, “MIKE’S HORROR STORY” was viewed 43,900 times, shared by 149 and commented upon 171 times. In ABCTruth’s version of the rags-to-riches tale, Crosson was the victim of unscrupulous, anti-union profiteers who took his training money and delivered him into the hands of skinflint employers who made his life miserable.

The Crossons apparently feel otherwise. In response to the ABCTruth video, Mike Crosson’s wife posted to the Facebook page of Jimmy Greene, the CEO of ABC Greater Michigan. “We owe a lot of gratitude” to ABC and its academy, she wrote. “Without them, we wouldn’t have the life, and stability, we have.”

She called the posting of the edited video (and its depiction of her children and home) “wrong, absolutely. But they are clearly misguided human beings. Using other people as pawns in this ‘game’ they seem to be playing is appalling.”

Among the comments posted on the ABCTruth video was a suggestion that “someone should punch this guy in the face.” And another, in an apparent reference to Crosson’s family of six, said, “He should discover contraception.”

Crosson’s wife noted that her husband has been, for the last three years, a union member. ABC’s Greene said the ABCTruth video was “typical union propaganda.” Greene said he is regularly targeted as the leader of an organization perceived as the enemy of organized labor.

That’s OK, he said, “I’m a big boy. But leave the families out of it.”

Contacted by Michigan Capitol Confidential, the Crossons declined to offer additional comment.

ABCTruth, according to its website, is owned by three Michigan union organizations: Michigan Laborers’ District Council, Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters and Operating Engineers Local 324.

None of the three responded to requests for comment.

ABCTruth did post a response on its Facebook page:

“ABC Truth is proud to present CEO Jimmy Greene his well earned victim card with 7 free stamps! Supporters informed us that Jimmy is upset that ABC Truth shared his Chapter’s promotional video that featured a Greater Michigan Construction Academy Grad, former instructor, and ABC of Michigan contractor employee who reported that he earned $13/hr, struggled to get by, and now apparently is not working in the construction trades. Somehow in Jimmy’s world, ABC Truth has done something wrong for sharing a video that ABC posted on Facebook — not GMCA who provided the gentleman with ‘great’ training, not ABC who deemed him a ‘craft champ’, not GMCA who employed him, and not Jimmy Greene who represents ABC employers that paid him $13/hr.”