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Anti-Wal-Mart union leader once threatened janitorial company with death threats

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Patrick Howley
Political Reporter

The anti-Wal-Mart crusader leading the fight to unionize the company once threatened a non-union janitorial company with death threats, The Daily Caller has learned.

Dan Schlademan runs the United Food and Commercial Workers Union’s (UFCW) Making Change at Walmart group, which is fighting for pay hikes for Wal-Mart employees and to block the retail giant from opening new stores that could drive down wages in various regions. The Making Change at Walmart campaign is organizing employees at every stage of the Walmart supply chain, including logistics and warehouse workers.

Schlademan made the threat in a phone call to the president of Houston’s Professional Janitorial Services (PJS) while Schlademan was working for the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). Schlademan ran the SEIU’s Justice for Janitors campaign in Houston in 2006. The phone conversation was captured on tape.

PJS, which Schlademan threatened while working for SEIU, was recently subjected to federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) site visits on which SEIU representatives joined government OSHA inspectors. PJS, despite SEIU pressure, is still a nonunion company.

“Brent, I want you to understand something. I’m your one defender. Everyone else is saying ‘Let’s go kill PJS,’” Schlademan told PJS’ president in a phone call.

Schlademan later acknowledged his use of death threats in a March 13, 2008 oral videotaped deposition in a PJS defamation lawsuit against SEIU reviewed by The Daily Caller.

An opposing lawyer asked Schlademan if “there were folks at the union that wanted to hurt or harm PJS?”

“I mean, I listened to the recording that y’all provided to us of the conversation,” Schlademan replied, ”I did use dramatic language about people’s opinions of PJS. So …Well, I mean, it’s dramatic language. It’s not hurt or harm physically. It’s about, you know, trying to run a campaign like we’ve done against other companies.”

“It was your language that said that there were people that wanted to kill PJS: is that correct?”

“I mean, that’s what the recording says. And certainly it’s a, again, dramatic language. It’s not literal.”

The lawyer asked Schlademan whether his tone toward PJS’ president changed for the worse ”when it became clear that PJS was not going to sign a neutrality agreement.”

“No. I mean, it’s when PJS decided that they were going to take buildings that were on a path to health care, take buildings that were paying higher wages and take buildings that were part of this process and take them out of that process and undermine our standards, that’s when things changed,” Schlademan replied.

“And part of the plan to kill PJS was to launch this campaign that included handbills that targeted them; is that correct?” the lawyer asked.

“We passed out handbills,” Schlademan said.

“And also identifying buildings that they clean or service: is that right?”

“Sure.”

The lawyer went on to allege that Schlademan distributed handbills accusing PJS of numerous unfounded violations including that “PJS just flat out failed to pay its janitors for time they actually worked.”

UFCW and Making Change at Walmart did not return requests for comment. A call to a phone number provided for Schlademan was not returned.

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