Harold Schlechtweg, business representative of Service Employees International Union Local 513, told school board members how the union worked to get people to attend a meeting of the South-central Kansas Legislative Delegation last Saturday. He was specific to the point of reading to board members the slogans on the protest signs.
He said the union used letters to all classified staff and telephone calls to recruit attendees to the meeting. He used students from the Education Department at Wichita State University to make telephone calls, he added.
Schlechtweg has asked governments to boost taxes in favor of his union workers before. Last summer he told the Wichita City Council that it should not outsource the mowing and maintenance of city parks. Instead, he wanted the council to keep union employees on the payroll.
At the time Schlechtweg testified, it was thought that the switch to outsourcing would save the city $1 million annually. Recent reporting by KWCH’s Kim Hynes revealed that the savings are now projected at $1.8 million annually, according to Wichita Parks Director Doug Kupper. So Wichita taxpayers are saving quite a bit by ignoring Schlechtweg’s advice. Kansas legislators should do the same.
At the national level, SEIU has criticized its opponents for conducting Astroturf campaigns. Astroturfing — meaning organized efforts to create an appearance of fake grassroots interest in an issue — is a common charge of those like Schlechtweg who are in favor of more government taxation and spending.
Here we see, right in our hometown of Wichita, union-produced Astroturf as SEIU works against the interest of Kansas taxpayers.