WASHINGTON – Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) apologized Friday for comparing Republican proponents of anti-union legislation to dictators Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin.
“But in speaking about this, I should not have mentioned the hostility of tyrants like Hitler to unions,” Brown said in a statement. “I don’t want my mistake to distract from the critical debate in Ohio, and I apologize for it.”
The Ohio Senate this week passed a sweeping GOP-led measure that curtails the collective bargaining rights of public employee unions. A similar Republican proposal in Wisconsin has brought about widespread pro-union protests and evolved into a high-profile national issue.
While he regretted linking Republicans to history’s most loathed tyrants, Brown said he’s “passionate about fighting for the middle class. Ohio’s teachers and nurses and police and firefighters are facing the loss of their collective-bargaining rights, and I think that’s wrong.”
On the Senate floor Thursday, Brown, known for his progressive views, said: “I look back at history and some of the worst governments we’ve ever had, you know one of the first things they do? They went after the unions. Hitler didn’t want unions, Stalin didn’t want unions. Mubarak didn’t want unions.”