Four men openly carrying guns and armed with brochures opposing a union ballot effort were seen approaching people this week in front of the St. Joseph courthouse in western Missouri. The men’s action Thursday came about a week after a group they appeared to represent, Liberty Alliance, claimed its workers had been harassed and assaulted by union workers.
The St. Joseph News Press reported the men refused to tell a reporter what they were doing. A brochure obtained by a Buchanan County Commissioner from one of them appeared to be published by the Liberty Alliance and asks readers to “get the facts” on right to work. Right to work laws involve eliminating mandatory union fees in the workplace.
The News Press reported that the brochure says unions want to take freedom away from employees by using dirty tricks to overturn Missouri’s right to work law. Although legally carrying firearms under Missouri law, the men raised concerns and were directed by sheriff’s deputies to stand on the sidewalk away from the courthouse.
Roughly a week earlier, a telephone press conference was held in which a representative from Liberty Alliance, Kristin Davison, accused union canvassers of using intimidation tactics and outright “thuggery” while gathering signatures.
The canvassers are gathering public signatures needed for the right to work law to be placed before voters. The union ballot effort itself is being challenged in court by right to work supporters, who have asked the state Supreme Court to take up the issue.
During the telephone press conference, Davison claimed a Liberty Alliance team member was assaulted when a canvasser knocked his cell phone out of his hand. She said canvassers had used voter intimidation and had improperly gathered signatures from people who lived out of state, or out of the district they were in.
Joining Davison in the telephone conference were Missouri state Republican Party Chairman Todd Graves along with Representative Holly Rehder (R-Sikeston) and Senator Bob Onder (R-Lake St. Louis). Rehder and Onder vigorously spoke in favor of the right to work law, which was passed by the Republican dominated state legislature in February.
Liberty Alliance is a political action committee (PAC) which, as reported in the Kansas City Star, recently received $350,000 in so-called dark money from Kansas City based non-profit American Democracy Alliance. American Democracy Alliance is a non-profit in a classification in which it is not required to report its donors or how much money they give.