Union leader will blast Sarah Palin, calling her rhetoric 'poisonous'

In a speech Thursday, a prominent labor official will blast former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) for recent anti-union rhetoric.

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, in a speech from Anchorage, Alaska, is expected to criticize the 2008 Republican vice presidential candidate for language he says could lead to violence by her supporters

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"And down in Tyler, Texas, she’s talking about — and I quote — 'union thugs.' What? Her husband’s a union man. Is she calling him a thug? Sarah Palin ought to know what union men and women are," Trumka will say. "That’s poisonous. There’s history behind that rhetoric. That’s how bosses and politicians in decades past justified the terrorizing of workers, the murdering of organizers."

Trumka was referring to a June speech by Palin in Tyler's Oil Palace. In the speech, she said she would have waived the Jones Act to help with the Gulf of Mexico oil spill's clean-up, adding, "Some unions not might not like it, not the union membership, but the union leaders, too many, who are thugs."

In his Anchorage speech, Trumka will say that kind of rhetoric edges closer to calling for violence. Palin has faced criticism for using cross-hairs on a United States map, posted on her Facebook page, to show what congressional Democrats her political action committee is opposing in the 2010 elections. 

"In this charged political environment, her kind of talk gets dangerous. 'Don’t retreat… reload' may seem clever, the kind of bull you hear all the time, but put it in context," Trumka will say. "She’s using crosshairs to illustrate targeted legislators. She’s on the wrong side of the line there. She’s getting close to calling for violence. And some of her fans take that stuff seriously. We’ve got legislators in America who have been living with death threats since the health care votes."

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