Republican Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin abruptly pulled out of the 2016 U.S. presidential race on Monday, doomed by a lightning-quick collapse from serious contender to a candidate struggling to raise money and his profile.
Walker, reading a statement in the Wisconsin capital of Madison, decried the negative tone of the Republican campaign in remarks seemingly directed at New York billionaire Donald Trump.
He called on some of his rivals for the Republican nomination to join him in exiting the race to give voters a chance to rally around a front-runner that can win the November 2016 presidential election.
MADISON, Wis.—Republican presidential candidate Scott Walker on Monday will call for sweeping restrictions on organized labor in the U.S., seeking to replicate nationwide his successful effort as Wisconsin’s governor to curb the power of unions.
At a town hall meeting in Las Vegas, Walker will propose eliminating unions for employees of the federal government, making all workplaces right-to-work unless individual states vote otherwise, scrapping the federal agency that oversees unfair labor practices and making it more difficult for unions to organize.
Many of Walker’s proposals are focused on unions for workers at all levels of government, while others would also affect private-sector unions. Labor law experts said such an effort, if successful, would substantially reduce the power of organized labor in America.
MADISON, Wis. – A Madison judge on Monday found Wisconsin labor relations officials in contempt for enforcing parts of Gov. Scott Walker’s contentious bargaining restrictions despite a ruling that they’re unconstitutional, clearing the way for hundreds of school district and municipal worker unions to negotiate with their employers again.
Dane County Circuit Judge Juan Colas ruled last year the provisions were unconstitutional as they applied to two unions representing Madison teachers and Milwaukee public workers, creating confusion about whether the ruling applied to all school and municipal workers across the state.
Whether we like it or not, union busting is a part of our world history. Unions have always fought against big business, government and those that would trample the everyday union worker.
The union busting that occurred last year in Wisconsin, Ohio, Arizona and other states continues today, with local and state governments trying to push through right-to-work (for less) legislation.
The death of the “Iron Lady” Margaret Thatcher makes us remember that union-busting is not just here in the United States, but is a world-wide issue. During her time in office from May 1979 to November 1990, Thatcher’s legacy of union busting was world renown. She was able to pass legislation to take away the rights of the union worker like none other was able to do before her.
Last year, Gov. Scott Walker tried to take a page out of Thatcher’s notebook when he tried to put through union-busting legislation in Wisconsin. Many were shocked when they heard about the legislation that Walker was trying to pass. Other states were quick to follow Walker’s example and tried to push through their own right-to-work and union-busting laws. This was our wake up call to come together in solidarity and fight like the unions fought in the days of Thatcher’s reign.
We must not allow ourselves to become complacent. For it is when we become complacent and stop keeping watch over our rights that we open ourselves up to our enemies’ strikes against us.
We must be diligent in our watch and stay informed about those who want to take away our rights as workers. One way to do this is to contribute to the UTU’s PAC fund. This fund enables us to stay alert and fight the legislation that would harm the middle-class worker and take away our hard-won rights.
Let Thatcher and Walker be reminders to us that we need to band together as unions in solidarity and continue to stay alert to fight against union-busting legislation.
Voters in Wisconsin will decide Tuesday, June 5, whether to recall their anti-union Gov. Scott Walker, a recall election engineered largely by working families and union members after Walker successfully pushed state legislation to curtail collective bargaining rights of public employees and weaken the ability of labor unions to represent workers across the state.
Walker, a Republican, is being challenged by Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, a Democrat, whom Walker defeated in 2010 by a 50-45 percent vote margin.
Also facing recall Tuesday are Wisconsin Republican Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch and three Republican state senators, all of whom joined Walker in support of the anti-union legislation. A fourth senator resigned from office prior to facing a recall election. That vacant seat will be filled in Tuesday’s election.
In August 2011, two state senators who had supported Walker’s assault on collective bargaining rights were successfully recalled and replaced by more moderate lawmakers.
The UTU Collective Bargaining Defense Fund played a significant role in the successful recall election effort last year, as well as the current recall election. More than 900,000 signatures were obtained on petitions to force Tuesday’s recall election.
Walker is the first governor in Wisconsin history to face recall. Only two governors have been removed from office through recall votes: California Gov. Gray Davis in 2003 and North Dakota Gov. Lynn Frazier in 1921.
UTU members, along with members of the Sheet Metal Workers International Association (SMWIA), and brothers and sisters from dozens of other unions, have been active across Wisconsin in rallies and other activities to energize voters to elect Barrett in place of the anti-union Walker.
The UTU Collective Bargaining Defense Fund provided resources to obtain the petition signatures as well as for direct mailings, door-to-door visits of voters and recorded phone calls by UTU International President Mike Futhey to UTU members and retirees in Wisconsin explaining the issues and encouraging votes for Barrett on Tuesday.
Barrett told CNN June 3 that “Scott Walker wants to be on the national stage as the rock star of the far right, as the poster boy of the Tea Party.”
Emotions are running so high in this election that the U.S. Justice Department is sending teams of poll watchers to Wisconsin.
Millions of dollars have flowed into this race from conservatives and business executives across America, providing Walker with an 8-1 spending advantage over Barrett for political advertising.
As for Wisconsin’s anti-labor legislation that was approved by Republican legislative majorities last year, a federal court in March invalidated portions of the Wisconsin law – one provision requiring annual recertification of a union, and another denying workers the right to have union dues withheld from their paychecks. Both were found in violation of constitutional free speech rights.
“On Wisconsin” is the fight song of the University of Wisconsin.
“Back to Wisconsin” is the fight song of the UTU Collective Bargaining Defense Fund and other organizations determined to continue a successful “red zone” defense against anti-union political zealots.
Organized labor – with considerable assistance from the UTU Collective Bargaining Defense Fund – helped engineer the recall of two Wisconsin state senators who plotted to eliminate collective bargaining rights for state workers in that state, and then defeated, at the ballot box, an Ohio legislative attempt to do the same.
Elected lawmakers nationwide, as well as political analysts, fully digested that those successes by organized labor and its friends and now recognize organized labor is not to be abused or ignored.
Now the focus turns to a recall of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, the architect of the Wisconsin assault on collective bargaining rights and organized labor. A successful recall could stop dead in its tracks further efforts by anti-labor zealots — nationwide and in Congress — to attack the fundamental rights of working Americans to organize and bargain collectively.
Indeed, in union there is strength, and now that strength is being focused on obtaining 540,000 signatures of Wisconsin voters to force a recall of Gov. Walker – the anti-union politician who started this unnecessary fight.
As the Associated Press reported, the drive to collect the 540,000 signatures is “fueled by anger over Walker’s successful push to take away nearly all public worker collective bargaining rights.”
It is fueled also by recognition among working families — union and non-union — that this was only the opening salvo in an effort to destroy labor unions and return America to the days when workers were entirely beholden to the daily whims of management.
In Wisconsin, the UTU Collective Bargaining Defense Fund is helping to organize rallies, buy television and radio air time to explain the recall effort, engage in door-to-door canvassing of voters, operate phone banks, send letters to the editor, meet with media editorial boards, and establish “sign the petition” booths throughout the state.
Less than two weeks into the recall campaign, volunteers have collected more than 300,000 signatures. With 540,000 signatures, a recall election could be held as early as April 2012.
In an incredible statement, Gov. Walker told a Wisconsin radio station, in response to the rallies, “You see a total disregard for people’s families and others here.” One would have thought he was responding to his own anti-labor efforts.
For more information on the UTU Collective Bargaining Defense Fund, click on the following link:
A coalition of labor unions and community groups didn’t take back the Wisconsin state senate from anti-union extremists Tuesday night, Aug. 9, but voters enraged over the extremists’ political agenda did unseat two of the six senators targeted for recall.
“Seeing that we were outspent three-to-one, that recall elections are rare in American politics and that our effort to change the face of the Wisconsin legislature only began a few months ago, contributors to the UTU Collective Bargaining Defense Fund can be proud of the accomplishment of unseating two extremists, and, especially, the message the recall election sent anti-union politicians nationwide,” said UTU Alternate National Legislative Director John Risch.
The Wisconsin recall effort began after political extremists in that state legislature voted to curtail public-employee bargaining rights as a first step toward weakening labor-union power.
An anti-union agenda by political extremists in Ohio similarly energized labor and community groups there, culminating in a successful petition drive that puts the political extremists’ anti-union legislation to a direct voter referendum in Ohio in November.
And in Indiana, political extremists abandoned their effort to curtail public-employee collective bargaining rights after the pushback by labor and community groups began in Wisconsin and Ohio.
In all cases, the UTU Collective Bargaining Defense Fund played an effective role.
In Madison, Wis., Tuesday, a voter told the Capitol-Times newspaper, “I think the fact that this election is going on right now is a victory in and of itself. We put [the anti-union lawmakers] on the hot seat. I would have liked to have seen us run the table on them, but this is okay for now.”
The UTU’s political consultant, Dean Mitchell, noted that the Wisconsin recall elections are a “test run for organized labor in expanding and improving its get-out-the-vote message and efforts ahead of the 2012 presidential election, where Wisconsin will be one of the swing states. The UTU can be proud that the two senators successfully recalled are from the two voting districts in the state with the most UTU members registered.”
UTU National Legislative Director James Stem said the extremist agenda in Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana and other states to privatize schools and weaken labor unions mirrors the efforts of extremists in Congress to fold Railroad Retirement into Social Security, privatize Social Security and Medicare, eliminate Amtrak and destroy organized labor.
“The situation in Wisconsin allowed the UTU and other labor organizations to fine-tune our communication strategies,” Stem said. “We are very proud of the manner in which our active and retired members responded to our efforts. The UTU Collective Bargaining Defense Fund and the UTU PAC will continue to spearhead our efforts going forward to protect our collective bargaining rights and defend against these brazen attacks on the middle-class.
“We owe temporary Gov. Scott Walker a debt of gratitude for waking up the middle class to the battle being waged against them,” Stem said. “We will use the lessons learned in the Wisconsin recall to improve our efforts and communications in Ohio and in presidential and congressional elections in 2012.”
As expected, the Republican-controlled Wisconsin House of Representatives March 10 approved state senate passed legislation revoking collective bargaining rights for public employees.
The bill now goes to Republican Gov. Scott Walker who promises to sign it into law.
Noting the size and geographic scope of public protests against the legislative assault on collective bargaining rights, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka has named Walker “Mobilizer of the Year” for the labor movement.
Trumka predicts the Wisconsin assault on collective bargaining rights will create a national backlash against extremist conservatives.
“Now they’re seeing what backlash really looks like,” Trumka said. “It’s like the old song goes, ‘’You ain’t seen nothing yet.'”
Recall efforts are expected against state lawmakers in Wisconsin and elsewhere who have backed legislation revoking collective bargaining rights for state employees.
In addition to revoking public-employee collective bargaining rights, the Wisconsin legislation cancels state collection of union dues from paychecks, and requires unions to hold annual representation elections.