A reader forwarded a mailing from the California State University Employees Union that advocates some controversial measures to slow down a signature-gathering drive on behalf of a "Paycheck Protection" initiative that would stop the practice of automatic payroll deductions for political contributions to unions. (Advocates of the initiative don't like media to call it "Paycheck Protection" because it includes restrictions on corporations, but they have yet to offer a non-PR-ish term that is any better.) The union advocates various techniques including 1) calling a toll-free number at SEIU headquarters, which will dispatch activists to properly "educate" voters; 2) flash mobs designed to "drive them away from the signature gatherer"; and over-engagement -- i.e., "Engage the signature gatherer for extended periods of time, asking questions about the various petitions and using up the time they have on campus during high traffic times." These tactics can lead to intimidation and bullying, yet they are being encouraged in official union mailers. This is reprehensible, but not surprising.
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