As we reported yesterday on WMNF, yesterday the AFL-CIO held simultaneous protests at Bush Cheney headquarters around the country. Union members are upset at a new overtime rule, which went into effect on Aug. 23. The Economic Policy Institute said the rule strips up to 6 million workers of overtime pay under what’s been titled the Fair Labor Standards Act. In Minnesota, New Hampshire, Alabama and other places around the country, Union members tried to get into the campaign offices, some were successful, others were not.

Charges have been filed against one protestor in Orlando, a bush campaign volunteer had their hand injured when they tried to push people out of the office. In Tampa, police spokeswoman Laura McElroy said no laws were violated by several dozen protestors, but that a couple of Bush staffers felt intimidated enough to flee the front of the office and call 911.

After a group of union members entered the Bush Cheney campaign headquarters on Platt street in West Tampa yesterday, shouting and waving signs, republicans are calling for an apology for what they say was unlawful intimidation. WMNFs Andrew Stelzer reports.

ACT ‘they came into the front door of the office and ran us into the back portion, we couldn’t operate the phones.
Stan fields as one of the volunteers who was in the office when the protest came in. It was described that it was not a disruption and we couldn’t do what we were here to do.
Fields called the protest which lasted for between 20 and 45 minutes, a disruption; although no one was hurt. Al Higginbotham, chairman of the Hillsborough county Republican Party, said that

ACT “For a group of Kerry supporters to come and intimidate our volunteers, are quasi terrorist tactics.�

Leonard Black was one of the volunteers who was answering phones in the office.

ACT They did not intimidate me at all, they made me want to the way they storms said in Germany and Italy, in Mousilinnis time.

County commissioner Jim Norman called for the Democratic Party to apologize for the incident, and commissioner ken Hagan agreed that both the Democratic Party and the Kerry campaign should apologize.

ACT “I'm deeply saddened and disappointed that this type of barbaric acts can still happen.’

The attendees including state Representatives Sandra Murman also called for an apology from the AFL_CIO, and for all groups associated with the John Kerry campaign to denounce the protest. Heres state representative Kevin Ambler.. ‘there’s a way of accomplishing your point without crossing over the line. I’m disappointed that at the people who did it and the Kerry campaign who condoned it.�

Commissioner Rhonda Storms said that the tactics used by the protestors, who engaged in similar protests in at least 17 other cities across the country yesterday, were uncivilized.

ACT ‘we recognize these type of behaviors that anachronistic its brown shirt tactics, we shouldn’t have to intimidate campaign volunteers, this was an organized effort across the nation. This was just wrong…if you cant win without that’s a sad day.�

WMNFs asked the crowd of about 25 republicans elected officials and volunteers about some of the allegations surrounding the incident

ACT ‘a couple of people mention the Kerry campaign—I don’t think they would admit it, but it was not bush supporters….they did leave back some supporters…

WMNF asked Al Higginbotham, about the statement that the protestors were engaging in quasi-terrorist activity.

ACT AT OUR STATION WE THEY SAID TERRORISM DEVISIVENESS..the blood has already been drawn, at the same way we feel the violation, were not gonna act in kind, were not gonna work around this, whether its a yard sign.’

The state Republican Party in Tallahassee is looking into whether charges will be filed. Local republicans have not made contact with the local Democratic Party.

As part of the day of action against the overtime rules, In Miami, about 150 union members entered the bush Cheney offices chanting “we want our overtime back.� Earlier today, WMNF spoke with Fred Frost the president of the South Florida AFL-CIO.


That was Fred Frost, president of the South Florida AFL-CIO.

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