WASHINGTON – The Bush-Cheney campaign on Monday accused the AFL-CIO (search) of acts of vandalism at a handful of its offices around the country — an allegation the labor federation denied.
In a letter to the president of the AFL-CIO, Bush campaign chairman Marc Racicot (search) cited injuries and damages at an office in Orlando, Fla., and disruptions in Michigan. Racicot said the labor protests came after incidents at other offices in Ohio, West Virginia, Florida and Tennessee.
"I hope you will put an end to protest activities that have led to injuries, property damage, vandalism and voter intimidation," Racicot wrote to AFL-CIO President John Sweeney (search). "We will hold you and your organization accountable for the actions of your members and urge you to immediately discontinue any coordinated protest efforts."
Denise Mitchell, a spokeswoman for the AFL-CIO, called the charges politically motivated.
"This is really irresponsible and just the height of nasty politics," Mitchell said, adding that the allegations came on a day when the Republicans knew the AFL-CIO offices would be closed — Columbus Day.
Racicot said Oct. 5 had been a day of protests against the Bush campaign. That was the day that AFL-CIO members protested the administration's new overtime regulations.
AFL-CIO members delivered postcards and petitions against the overtime pay cuts, Mitchell said, and Racicot is using that to imply a coordinated effort to vandalize campaign offices.
In Orlando, the Republicans say, two workers were injured when they tried to keep protesters from getting through the office door.