• Brown and Warren respond to union workers flap, homophobic incident


    BOSTON (FOX 25 / MyFoxBoston.com) - Democrat Elizabeth Warren and Republican Sen. Scott Brown are responding to questions about whether or not union members should be fined if they do not hold signs for candidates.

    Video on The Weekly Standard web site shows a man who claims to be a union worker standing outside the Brown/Warren debate in Springfield on Oct. 10. The man claims he would have been fined up to $250 if he didn't show up to hold a sign in support of Warren.

    Brown responded to the claims in the video while receiving the endorsement of a coalition of law enforcement in Dorchester. Brown told reporters that he believes it is wrong, and that "any of the union brothers and sisters who are being forced to go out and fined up to $250 if they don't show, I encourage them to vote for me."

    FOX 25's Sharman Sacchetti asked Warren on camera about the notion of union members possibly being fined if they didn't show up, and Warren said she did not know anything about it.

    When asked what she thought about the idea of union members possibly being fined, Warren said she did not approve; however, her answer came after some back-and-forth with Sacchetti.

    In a statement, Mark Erlich, Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the New England Regional Council of Carpenters, addressed the video of what appears to be a union carpenter posted online.

    "The New England Carpenters Union never has and never will fine a member for not participating in political activity and does not pay members for their participation," Erlich said.

    The candidates also addressed another issue that reportedly occurred at the debate in Springfield on Oct. 10.

    Both camps say they did hear about supporters who were holding signs for Democratic candidate Elizabeth Warren that heckled and shouted homophobic slurs at one of Republican Senator Scott Brown's staffers, Ross Hemminger. Hemminger is the Youth Coordinator for the Scott Brown for Senate campaign.  

    Elizabeth Warren's campaign manager has issued an apology to the staffer. 

    Sacchetti asked Warren about the incident during a campaign stop in Attleboro on Friday. 

    "I want to make it clear that nothing like that is acceptable," Warren said.  "As soon as we heard about it in the campaign we sent an apology, but this was not someone from the campaign staff and there is no room for that in the campaign."

    The Brown campaign has issued a statement, reading "The behavior displayed was appalling and we are glad the Warren campaign has apologized for it. Ross is a valued member of our team and we are disappointed that he was targeted with these hateful words."

    This is not the first time innapropriate behavior has made headlines in the Mass. Senate race.

    In late September, videos were released showing Sen. Scott Brown staffers and members of the Mass. Republican party "whooping" and doing tomahawk chops. The actions appeared to be an attempt to poke fun at Elizabeth Warren's unproven claims of Native American heritage.

    Following the videos being released, a spokesperson for Brown released a statement saying that the senator issued the individuals involved their one and only warning that "this type of conduct will not be tolerated." 

    Video from the incident outside the debate can be found on the Weekly Standard. The video features graphic, unedited language. Watch at your own risk.

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