What should have been a quiet and informative discussion on the pros and cons of so-called “right to work” laws turned into a tumultuous affair Thursday evening after pro-union protesters crashed an event sponsored by the Cascade Policy Institute of Portland and the Freedom Foundation of Olympia, Wash.
Pro-union demonstrators began by protesting outside the event held at Clark College's Columbia Tech Center in Vancouver, Wash., but eventually moved inside to harass attendees.
The pro-union protesters tried shouting down participants by using bullhorns, according to a statement released by Cascade Policy Institute of Portland.
One protester reportedly spat on keynote speaker Vincent Vernuccio, a Mackinac Center for Public Policy's labor expert.
Law enforcement officials were eventually called in to remove the unruly protesters.
Two pro-union demonstrators were arrested for trespassing after they refused to exit the event area.
"This kind of behavior is most saddening because it shows a real lack of understanding of what Cascade Policy Institute wants for Oregon," said Cascade founder Steve Buckstein.
"We do not seek to end unions or union representation. We simply want all Oregonians to have the right to choose whether or not union membership and representation is something they desire for themselves," he said. "All Oregonians deserve that right, even those who reject our efforts."
"At the end of the day, this is a fight for freedom and justice. No amount of harassment or intimidation will change that fact," he added.
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