When this is all said and done unions are going to be about as popular as cancer with the American public.
(Topeka Journal) — Kansas Republicans accused organized labor activists Thursday of forcing female legislators to endure sexually explicit and degrading comments while passing into the House chamber before a vote to end automatic deductions from paychecks for union political causes.
Democrats and a representative of the Kansas AFL-CIO disputed the GOP claims, and both sides pointed to video evidence to support their interpretation of events.
House Speaker Mike O’Neal, R-Hutchinson, said the vocal crowd crossed the line by engaging in salty commentary outside of the House chamber and by shouting inside the chamber when the paycheck bill came to a vote.
“There were comments of sexually explicit nature directed at both female legislators and female staff,” O’Neal said. “That’s the most disrespectful display from the gallery I’ve seen in 27 years I’ve been here.”
He said two union sympathizers attempted to intimidate a male House member into voting against the measure, which was passed 75-46 and forwarded to the Senate.
As word spread of tension on the third floor of the Statehouse, House members were instructed to enter the chamber by a back staircase. No one was injured, and there were no arrests.
The Kansas Republican Party fired off a news release blasting “union thugs” who “brought their street tactics to the Kansas House” where they offered a “taste of the bullying tactics being employed by unions across the country.”
“This conduct has no place in Kansas, especially not in our Capitol,” said Amanda Adkins, chairwoman of the state GOP. “Unfortunately, this only provides a glimpse into the ‘negotiation’ style preferred by these agitators.”
Adkins called on the Kansas Democratic Party to condemn the “threats and sexually degrading comments.”