Walker’s gubernatorial opponent in Wisconsin not even bothering to campaign on restoring union benefits
posted at 9:31 pm on April 30, 2014 by Erika Johnsen
It’s certainly no secret that Big Labor has slowly but surely been losing what was once its unassailable clout in various regions across the country: Union membership has been on the decline for decades; Michigan became the country’s 24th right-to-work state in 2012 despite some fierce resistance; and in Wisconsin, even state Democrats aren’t even remotely looking to reprise the gigantic Labor tussle that boosted incumbent Gov. Scott Walker to national fame in 2011 as a potential strategy for unseating him this fall. Via the WSJ:
Ms. [Mary] Burke sticks to a bread-and-butter argument that job growth has faltered under Mr. Walker. She talks up her business credentials as a former executive at her family’s business, Trek Bicycle Corp. But Ms. Burke largely steers clear of the 2011 law championed by Mr. Walker that drew tens of thousands of protesters to the Capitol in Madison while coming to define the governor’s tenure.
As Democrats see it, there is no realistic path to victory over Mr. Walker in November by building a campaign around restoring Wisconsin’s public-employee unions to their former status. That fight has been fought—and lost, many Democrats said. …
Underscoring the new political calculus in Wisconsin, Ms. Burke is waging a campaign that parts ways in important respects from one of the most reliable pieces of the Democratic coalition: organized labor. She doesn’t say she would repeal the law, called Act 10. Nor does she favor lifting the requirements that many public employees contribute more to health and pension benefits.
“I think it’s only reasonable,” said Ms. Burke, 54 years old, the leading candidate in the Democratic field. Instead, she said she would work to reinstate collective-bargaining rights that were rolled back.
Unions are still some of the biggest campaign contributors in the country, but Americans in general are increasingly looking at Big Labor as just another special-interest group out to get theirs — often at the expense of not only the overall economy but even their own workers.