Were an employer in the private sector to do so, there would be an outcry and leading the protests would probably be the Taoiseach who constantly reminds trade union members of his own trade union background.
Such interference by a minister, presumably with the encouragement of the Taoiseach, represents a very serious threat not just to ASTI but to the entire trade union movement in this country.
Trade union members are keenly aware of the importance of a ballot and of the need to have full information at their disposal before casting their vote.
Not only is Minister Dempsey ignoring a very important indeed sacred trade union principle by deciding on these 'information meetings', but by canvassing a 'yes' vote he is asking trade union members to ignore the direction given to them by their union executive.
Mr Dempsey has shown himself to be even more incapable than his predecessor in his grasp of basic industrial relations procedures.
With this latest gaffe there is only one response that should come not just from ASTI but from all trade unions in Ireland they should call on the minister to resign.