DOJ Asked to Investigate Aggressive Union Protests Nationwide

Fourteen U.S. representatives, incl. Tom Feeney (R-FL), have asked the U.S. Dept. of Justice to investigate union protests they say were designed to intimidate Bush-Cheney supporters in 10 cities on Oct. 5.  The union militants showed up at Bush-Cheney campaign offices in Orlando, Miami, Tampa, Fla., as well as seven other U.S. cities.  Their official purpose was to deliver postcards from people opposed to new Bush regulations on the classification of overtime employees.


According to an Orlando police report, Rhyan Metzler, a field director for the Republican Party of Florida in Orlando, told authorities that about 60 protesters forced their way into the party’s headquarters at about 1 p.m.  One protester, Van Church, forced the door, causing Metzler’s arm to be caught, the police report said. Metzler said Wednesday that his left wrist was fractured in the scuffle.  The police report said two counts of battery would be filed against Church with the State Attorney’s Office.


Church claimed that Metzler’s injury was his own fault.  “If his wrist is fractured, it’s a result of his own actions in jerking the door the way he did.” Church said. “He jerked the door out of my hand and cut it in the process.” Church added that he suffered a minor cut on his left hand.  AFL-CIO spokeswoman Esmeralda Aguilar said none of the protests was violent.  She claimed that the representatives’ letter to DOJ is just a diversion attempt.


In Miami, more than 100 union protesters stormed the Bush-Cheney campaign office and pushed volunteers inside, police said.  No one was arrested, and most protesters had left by the time police arrived, Miami police spokesman Delrish Moss said.  In Tampa, about three dozen protesters crowded into the 2nd-floor office of the local Bush-Cheney headquarters, where three elderly volunteers, two interns and a campaign staffer were working at the time, said Wes Maddox, a Bush-Cheney volunteer. [Orlando Sentinel, 10/7/04]