(FOX 25 / MyFoxBoston.com) – Following fallout from a video of an apparent union worker claiming he was being forced to hold a political sign in support of Democratic U.S. Senate hopeful Elizabeth Warren, the communications director for the New England Regional Council of Carpenters said in a statement that the union "never has and never will fine a member for not participating in political activity."
In his statement, Bert Durand clarified that the man seen in the video may have been referring to what's called the Member-Union Participation program which requires members to participate in two days of union "sanctioned events."
According to Durand, the union "never has and never will fine a member for not participating in political activity and does not pay members for their participation."
However, Durand did confirm that members who fail to partake in any union activities in a cycle will be charged a "dues assessment" of $250.
The statement issued to FOX 25 also includes a list of activities members can participate in, including building handicapped ramps, playgrounds, and other numerous facilities used by cities, towns and community groups.
The sanctioned events also involve other union-building activities such as organizing, picketing, and demonstrating against contractors that undermine industry standards. Other sanctioned events include attending local zoning and planning meetings as well as supporting political and legislative campaigns that support union construction.
The union uses their judgment when choosing the events. The event must benefit the union or its members in some way. Members are only asked to participate in one event per cycle, and it is made clear to them that they decide which of the events they would like to do.
The Warren campaign came under fire after the video of the reported union worker surfaced on the Internet.
FOX 25's Sharman Sacchetti spoke with Warren on camera and asked her about the incident on Friday. Warren responded that she did not know anything about it. In the interview, she continued to deny knowing about the incident, but later stated that she did not approve if in fact that was the case.
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