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WASHINGTON – House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer released the following statement today in response to news reports of the latest incident of a Republican Member of Congress, Representative Joe Wilson (R-S.C.), bashing unions in an effort to raise campaign contributions:
“The Republican strategy of raising money by bashing unions with inflammatory language is shameful.
“According to news reports, Majority Leader Tom Delay sent a fundraising letter earlier this year that asserted that unions were a ‘clear and present danger’ to the security of the United States and U.S. Representative Joe Wilson of South Carolina recently sent a letter depicting union members as ‘thugs’ who ‘terrorize workers and communities’ and ‘get away with beatings, arson – even murder’.
“The GOP has long sought to curb the right of workers to organize, but accusing union members of being a threat to national security and of getting away with murder is beyond the pale. There is no doubt in my mind that union members love this country and would do everything in their power to protect it.
“America’s unions have fought for decades to ensure that all American workers have fair wages and benefits, and safe working conditions. Their efforts have made life better for tens of millions of people, many of whom have never paid a cent in union dues. A better life for America’s workers is a goal that I am sure all Members of Congress can agree is worthy.
“How quickly my Republican friends forget that the policemen and fireman who so bravely rushed to the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11th were union members! The accusations the Republicans are so cavalierly tossing around in fundraising letters are an insult to all of the union members who died on September 11th, as well as to all the first responders who have died while protecting and serving their communities across the country.
“I encourage the Republican Party to end the despicable practice of calling working men and women who choose to organize a threat to our nation’s security - among other things – as a part of their long-time effort to curb the constitutionally protected right to organize.”