These are the kind of thugs the Obama administration and the Left always protect, but fail to toe the line and you get results like these:
Natasha Nimer had a simple question: As a trustee in a local labor union representing City of Phoenix employees, did she have a duty to check the books of a taxpayer-funded insurance account it managed?
So she asked the executive board of AFSCME Local 2960. The response was an emphatic “no.”
She dropped the matter and thought it would end there.
She was wrong.
In the months that followed, union officials tried to strip Nimer of her duties as a trustee and steward. They tried twice to force her out of AFSCME, only to have the international headquarters order her reinstated.
Eventually union executives went after Nimer’s job as a civilian employee in the Phoenix Fire Department. They demanded her city phone records, personal and work-related emails, disciplinary files and performance evaluations; even a list of all of the Web sites she had visited. They wanted her computers seized and the hard drives searched for evidence she was doing something wrong.
The insurance fund Nimer asked about is one of many taxpayer-funded benefits worth millions of dollars that Phoenix provides to the seven labor unions that represent city workers with no accountability. The salaries of top union officials are paid by taxpayers. So are other cash benefits paid directly to the unions. Yet the city does not audit union accounts or require union officials to document how the time and money is spent.
As a trustee in AFSCME 2960, it was Nimer’s responsibility to monitor union spending. But she says her attempts to do so only led to retaliation from union officials.
Nimer eventually quit the union, saying she “felt beat down” by the board’s bullying.
Unions are supposed to protect workers. But Nimer says her battle with AFSCME 2960 shows they can also turn against their own members who challenge the union’s power or question its finances, even to the point of interfering with the worker’s job.
“I felt like I was being attacked,” Nimer said of her nine-month ordeal. “I just felt like every day was a fight. I felt I’ve worked really hard for this union, and now I’m being beat down and attacked because I raised a question. I put up with it because I care about people, I care about the membership. I care about the union. To have it turned around, it really hurt a lot.”
Nancy Gray, the former president of Local 2960, said there was no attempt to retaliate against Nimer for asking about the insurance account, something that she had a right to do under the AFSCME International constitution. What triggered the attempts to expel Nimer from the union were subsequent statements she made to fellow members, questioning whether money in the accounts was being misspent and whether union officials were paying taxes on money they received for managing the fund, said Gray, president of the local at the time the dispute with Nimer arose.
“That was such a falsehood and she was putting that out there to members and publicly,” said Gray, who left the union earlier this year. “So that’s why she had to have charges filed against her, so that she would stop that.”
Current officials at Local 2960 and the AFSCME International organization did not return repeated phone calls seeking comment.