It wasn’t a secret. They were planning it for weeks. Their plans were to protest and protest they did.
They even brag about it on their website:
A little rain didn’t stop thousands of people from gathering on K Street to call out the big bank lobbyists corrupting our democracy.
After two days of confronting the bank lobbyists with National People’s Action, we were joined by our brothers and sisters from the AFL-CIO, Jobs with Justice, MoveOn, and hundreds of supporters from around the country.
However, before astroturfing K street on Monday, they decided to trespass onto the private residential property of two of their targets, one of which happened to be a neighbor of Fortune’s Nina Easton. Perhaps they did not know she would write about their trespassing this way:
Every journalist loves a peaceful protest-whether it makes news, shakes up a political season, or holds out the possibility of altering history. Then there are the ones that show up on your curb–literally.
Last Sunday, on a peaceful, sun-crisp afternoon, our toddler finally napping upstairs, my front yard exploded with 500 screaming, placard-waving strangers on a mission to intimidate my neighbor, Greg Baer. Baer is deputy general counsel for corporate law at Bank of America (BAC,Fortune 500), a senior executive based in Washington, D.C. And that — in the minds of the organizers at the politically influential Service Employees International Union and a Chicago outfit called National Political Action — makes his family fair game.
Waving signs denouncing bank “greed,” hordes of invaders poured out of 14 school buses, up Baer’s steps, and onto his front porch. As bullhorns rattled with stories of debtor calls and foreclosed homes, Baer’s teenage son Jack — alone in the house — locked himself in the bathroom. “When are they going to leave?” Jack pleaded when I called to check on him.
Baer, on his way home from a Little League game, parked his car around the corner, called the police, and made a quick calculation to leave his younger son behind while he tried to rescue his increasingly distressed teen. He made his way through a din of barked demands and insults from the activists who proudly “outed” him, and slipped through his front door.
“Excuse me,” Baer told his accusers, “I need to get into the house. I have a child who is alone in there and frightened.”
Now this event would accurately be called a “protest” if it were taking place at, say, a bank or the U.S. Capitol. But when hundreds of loud and angry strangers are descending on your family, your children, and your home, a more apt description of this assemblage would be “mob.” Intimidation was the whole point of this exercise, and it worked-even on the police. A trio of officers who belatedly answered our calls confessed a fear that arrests might “incite” these trespassers.
In the business community, though, SEIU has a reputation for strong-arm tactics against management, prompting some companies to file suit.
Now those strong-arm tactics, stirred by supposedly free-floating (as opposed to organized) populist rage, have come to the neighborhood curb. Last year it was AIG executives — with protestors met by security guard outside. Now it’s any executive — and they’re on the front stoop. After Baer’s house, the 14 buses left to descend on the nearby residence of Peter Scher, a government relations executive at JPMorgan Chase.
Targeting homes and families seems to put SEIU in the ranks of (now jailed) radical animal-rights activists and the Kansas anti-gay fundamentalists harassing the grieving parents of a dead 20-year-old soldier at his funeral (the Supreme Court has agreed to weigh in on the latter). But that’s not a conversation that SEIU officials want to have.
No, they would rather not have a conversation about their intrusion onto another person’s property, nor do they consider intimidating family members immoral or unlawful.
And, they have no remorse whatsoever.
More than 1,000 visited two bankers at their homes Sunday afternoon to ask for meetings with Bank of America and JP Morgan Chase.
When mobs trespass onto the private residential property of a private citizen and intimidate their children, and the police refuse to take action, no one should act surprised if a citizen acts to defend his property and his family from the lawless hordes…but, perhaps, that may be what the SEIU, the NPA, and their ilk want.
“I bring reason to your ears, and, in language as plain as ABC, hold up truth to your eyes.” Thomas Paine, December 23, 1776
For more news and views on today’s unions, go to LaborUnionReport.com.