Labor violence has long, ignoble history

The Oklahoman Editorial Published: December 19, 2012
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In 1994, a non-union truck driver named Glen Dale Yeatts was nearly beaten to death when he entered the yard of a California trucking company embroiled in a labor dispute. Legal expenses for those charged with the beating were paid by union members.

In 1985, a sniper killed a man hauling coal for a non-union company. Efforts to close a loophole in federal law holding union officials responsible for violence or threats of violence were opposed by Big Labor.

Union thuggery has a long and ignoble history in this country. It happened in Michigan this month in the battle over right to work and in Wisconsin earlier in the battle over collective bargaining. The “Occupy” movement was rife with organized acts of anarchy. But these are given scant attention. This would not be the case had the violence and anarchy erupted at tea party rallies in recent years.

Contemporary instances of union violence are relatively mild compared to the past, when outbreaks included the Haymarket Massacre in Chicago in 1886, the assassination of former Idaho Gov. Frank Steunenberg in 1905, the 1993 murder of a non-union Peabody Coal Co. worker in West Virginia and the 2009 attack of a tea party sympathizer by members of a public employees union.

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