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Electricians’ union pays protesters to ‘intercept’ activists opposing stadium construction

David Martosko Executive Editor

When voters in Santa Clara, Calif. approved the construction of a new stadium for the San Francisco 49ers, labor unions in liberal-leaning California stood to win jobs and millions in revenue. And though opposition to the stadium is gathering steam, the unions are protecting their turf.

The San Jose Mercury News reported Thursday that through its website, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 332 is offering to pay $100 to partisans who are willing to “intercept” critics.

And though the union says the 49ers are behind the effort, the team has disavowed it.

“We have been asked by the 49ers to generate between 10-20 individuals to act as ‘interceptors’ in an effort to derail a ballot referendum” to revoke the authority to build the new arena, the IBEW site says.

The $100 payments are being offered for four hours of work handing out leaflets during the weekend.

The stadium opponents, organized under the “Santa Clara Plays Fair” banner, said their side of the dispute is an all-volunteer effort, with no paid protesters.

Deborah Bress, the group’s spokeswoman, opposes the use of taxpayer money to build the new $1 billion football stadium. She’s pleased that her organization’s efforts have forced the union to open up its checkbook in an effort to recruit stadium supporters.

“I’m extremely energized,” she said. “We’re obviously making an impact.”

If enough opposition signatures are presented to the city of Santa Clara, the Mercury News reported, the city council will be legally required to reconsider its 2010 vote to approve the project.

David Martosko is The Daily Caller’s executive editor. Follow him on Twitter.