It seems that politically speaking, labor unions—at least in Connecticut—will do just about anything to get their way; even if the candidate they are supporting denounces their tactics.
A union-back political action committee (PAC) is reeling from the backlash against it by both Republicans and Democrats. Labor United for Connecticut is running a digital ad that ties Republican candidate for state representative William Petit to Donald Trump. Petit lost his wife and two daughters to the savage 2007 home invasion in Cheshire that sent shock waves across the country. He has since founded the Petit Family Foundation. The foundation counts in its mission a dedication to the empowerment of women.
The ad urges voters to “Stop Donald Trump and Republican William Petit’s attack on women and families.” Pathetic.
Blowback on Labor United is coming from all sides and the group looks foolish, insensitive and moronic for running the ad. Even the Democratic state representative that the ad is supposed to help is irate. State Rep. Betty Boukus showed up at the Petit press conference and condemned that ad. “I have known the Petit family forever. It’s a clean race. I run for the position, I do not run against anyone…But when I heard this morning … I just stuck my shoes on and I got over here because I want to stand with him…How anybody could be so irresponsible? I’m calling for its withdrawal too,” Boukus said according to the Hartford Courant.
Other Democrats including House Speaker Brendan Sharkey and the Democratic State Central Committee to a lesser degree, condemned the ad.
So who is the genius who decided to run the ad? Well-known-around-the-Capitol union stooge Paul Filson is chairperson of Labor United and director of the Connecticut State Council of the Service Employees International Union. He tried to claim the ad was not a personal attack on Petit. Sorry, Mr. Filson. This is the definition of a personal attack.
Filson told the Courant the ad would not be withdrawn unless Petit denounces Trump. (Petit has not said who is voting for but has spoken out against Trump’s rhetoric).
As an aside, the Connecticut Republican Party managed to fumble responding to the ad. One would think it would be a slam dunk. But no, the state GOP decided to turn it on Democrats. “This is a textbook example of Democrats’ hyperbole gone too far,” said party chairman J.R. Romano said. This, after the Democratic candidate herself, the Democratic Speaker of the House and the Democratic State Central Committee all condemned the ad and called for its removal. Another state Republican Party fail.
But the real question is, has labor really sunk this low? And then they wonder why they don’t get public support when the governor or legislature asks for givebacks in the budget crisis.
The ad was a big mistake by the continually miscalculating state labor unions.
A withdrawal of the ad and an apology is in order.
UPDATE: Union Pulls Ad; Filson Makes It Worse; One Union Claims, ‘Not Us!’
Paul Filson, an official with Labor United for Connecticut, the group that put up the offending ad, says it’s coming down. That would be great if it was accompanied by an apology as Republicans and Democrats alike have demanded.
Instead, Filson refused to apologize and in fact launched into a defense of linking every Republican to Donald Trump’s offensive positions and statements “unless they condemn” Trump. It’s the epitome of union arrogance. This is not about a political strategy. It’s about decency, something Filson and his group apparently don’t have.
Meanwhile, it didn’t take long for one labor union to scream, “We’re not part of this!” Lori Pelletier of Connecticut AFL-CIO was quick to point out they had nothing to do with the ad and didn’t contribute to Labor United. “While we have not endorsed any candidates in this particular state house race, we felt so strongly that the ad was repugnant that it required a response,” Pelletier said.
So much for labor being united.