A woman claiming to be a union member from Nashville left a foul-mouthed voice mail last week at the offices of the Mackinac Center, the Michigan-based think tank that filed an amicus brief in the Janus v. AFSCME lawsuit in which the Supreme Court ruled employees could not be required to make donations to a union if they chose not to.
In an email and phone exchange with The Tennessee Star, Mackinac Center’s Vice President for Strategic Outreach & Communications Lindsay Killen shared details about the foul-mouthed message.
We received this voicemail from Ann Barnett, a union member from Nashville who called Mackinac Center’s My Pay My Say campaign call center.
My Pay My Say is a national education and awareness campaign to inform public employees that their First Amendment rights to free speech and association have been restored by the Supreme Court in the Janus v. AFSCME case – no longer must they pay fees to a government union just to keep their jobs.
Ann Barnett’s voicemail was a vulgar and outraged response to the fact that we would dare to inform public employees about their right to choose whether to continue pay for union activities that may or may not represent their best interests or values.
When did you receive this voicemail? To whom was it left?
This voicemail was left with us this week.
Why do you suppose Ms. Barnett called you?
We believe Ms. Barnett called our call center because she was made aware of our efforts to inform her fellow public employees across the states of the opportunity they now have to exercise their right to opt-out of their government union and stop paying union fees. Ms. Barnett is clearly someone more concerned with union special interests than workers’ freedom, and does not trust that the millions of public employees across the country see enough value in their union services to continue paying them voluntarily.
If unions are so valuable to public employees’ social and economic livelihoods, as Ms. Barnett asserts, then why is she so afraid of millions of these workers now having an opportunity to choose whether to support a union themselves?
Did you file an amicus brief in the Janus case?
We filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court, which was cited in footnote 3 of Justice Alito’s majority opinion for the Court.
We have received over 10,000 calls to our call center since the decision was released. Many have been from concerned workers across the country looking for help in exercising their rights, but some, like Ms. Barnett’s call, have come from entrenched union members and members of union leadership that attack the Center for having the audacity to ensure that workers know their rights regarding union affiliation as they make a decision about whether to support them.
The Tennessee Star has not verified the identity of the woman who claims to be Ann Barrett, a union member from Nashville, but notes that a woman by the name of Anne Barnett is affiliated with the Central Labor Council of Nashville and Middle Tennessee, AFL-CIO (CLC).
A woman by the name of Anne Barnett is listed as the author of articles featured on the home page of the CLC website.
The Star contacted Vonda McDaniel, president of the Central Labor Council of Nashville and Middle Tennessee and requested a comment on this story, but did not receive a response.
The Mackinac Center’s Killen told The Star this is not the only vulgar message the Mackinac Center has received from a union member, as Watchdog.org reported:
A New York state teachers’ union leader lashed out in a vulgar rant directed at a nonprofit group a day after the U.S. Supreme Court dealt a blow to public-sector unions June 27 in the well-publicized Janus vs. AFSCME case.
“You really are a bitch,” said a woman, who identified herself as Wendy Waczek and a representative of the Teachers’ Association of the Tarrytowns, a public union. The message was left in a voicemail with the nonprofit think tank Mackinac Center for Public Policy in Midland, Michigan. “Don’t go there. Trust me, you’re messing with the wrong people.”
You can listen to the audio of the voice mail (with foul language bleeped out) left by the woman who identified herself as Ann Barnett from Nashville, provided to The Star by the Mackinac Center, here: