December 12. 2012 11:16PM

The union label: Don't let it be 'thug'


Conservative activists in New Hampshire did themselves no favors during the last legislative session's right-to-work debate when they referred repeatedly to "union thugs." Union members and their families were outraged, and we can see why. Even if not intended this way, the term comes across as implying that thuggish behavior is common among all union members.

And yet unions advance that perception when some of their members use violence and intimidation as political tactics, and union leaders and other members say nothing.

In Michigan on Wednesday, Republican legislators passed and the Republican governor signed legislation that would forbid unions from collecting fees from non-members who did not want to pay them. At a protest outside the state capitol building, some union members tore down a large tent that sheltered activists who supported the law, and a video shows a FOX News contributor being punched repeatedly by a burly union protester and grabbed from behind by another.

This is the very definition of thuggish behavior. So where are the union leaders and union-backed politicians denouncing it? Is "solidarity" so powerful that violence in its name is tacitly condoned?

If union leaders want to stem the labor movement's decline in popularity (and membership) and throw off the "thug" label, a good place to start would be to end the use of violence and intimidation by their side.