A union stage worker, setting up a stage for an upcoming political event in Los Angeles, was fired for refusing to remove his hat and turn his sweatshirt inside out while on the job. The event was a rally for embattled senator Barbara Boxer and President Obama was scheduled to appear. The worker, Duane Hammond, was instructed to remove his hat and turn his sweatshirt inside out so the logos and pictures could not be seen. When he refused he was terminated from his job by his union supervisor.
What, you ask, was the logo and picture on the shirt and hat that were so offensive that it required Hammond’s termination from his job? I’ll tell you. Brace yourself, it may be difficult for you to read. The logo was “U.S.S. George H.W. Bush” and “CV77”, the identification of the U.S. Navy ship on which his son is currently serving.
Hammond wore the shirt and hat as a tribute to his son’s service to his country to a place where the President was going to appear and speak. Yet his boss, apparently either a staunch Obama supporter or afraid that someone in the political group would be offended by the logo, ordered him to make the logos invisible or lose his job. Apparently National Public Radio isn’t the only company that limits free speech as a condition of employment. We can add the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees to that list as well.
The IATSE (Local 33) union fired Hammond even after he explained his apparel and their meaning to his bosses. The attire didn’t explicitly support George H.W. Bush but merely bore the emblem and logo of the famous ship. But apparently that was too much for the union to tolerate.
A union spokesperson said they are still investigating the incident but that if Hammond was fired because of his apparel he will be paid for the day. That’s not exactly the point, is it? Being paid for the day doesn’t excuse someone being fired, particularly from a union job, for exercising their right to free speech via a shirt and a hat, particularly if the logo and emblem aren’t vulgar. Though I suppose there are those on the left who would consider anything bearing the name Bush to be vulgar. But in the real world this type of shirt is acceptable, unless you work for the IATSE.
The bottom line in all this is that this is the second incident in less than a week where someone has been fired from an organization on the left for exercising their right to free speech. Some may say Hammond was trying to provoke an incident by wearing a sweatshirt bearing the name Bush to an Obama rally site. I say prove that. It’s a Navy ship, for God’s sake, complete with pictures. I’m pretty sure if a worker had worn a U.S.S. Ronald Reagan shirt to the site no one would have said a word to him. But we’re talking Obama, the left, unions, and free speech. Oh, and the name Bush.