WRITTEN BY CHRISS W. STREET
Big Labor is about to be trashed in the Wisconsin Primary election tomorrow, as rank and file Democrats refuse to be dominated by Big Labor Money. After national and local unions spent $35 million in the losing effort in 2010 Wisconsin gubernatorial election and another $4.5 million in super PAC donations to Kathleen Falk for the Democrat Primary, polls are showing Mayor Tom Barrett of Milwaukee is about to beat the Big Union Falk machine by 38% to 21% tomorrow, according to a Marquette University poll. Once considered omnipotent in the Democratic Party, Wisconsin badgers are about to reclaim their territory from Big Labor.
Republican Scott Walker sparked a national controversy shortly after being elected Governor when he fought for and passed the Wisconsin Budget Repair Bill, which eliminated government funding for most collective-bargaining rights for state employees. The bill enraged public employee unions because it forced workers to pay a portion of the cost of health insurance and pensions, capped wage increases and required most unions to be recertified every year.
Originally, the Big Labor funded recall effort against Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker next month was seen by unions as a must win first battle in the presidential election year to determine if taxpayers will continue to fund public worker unions’ collective bargaining rights. CNN senior political analyst David Gergan argued the recall “will be seen as a test of tea party strength in Wisconsin, and if Walker were to lose, there would be many interpretations that the tea party has lost some of its punch.” Gergan went on to predict: “There’s no question to me that if the forces of the recall succeed, it’s going to encourage the union folks to feel like if they just turn it out, they really turn it on, they can win majorities.” He added: “I think the winning side is going to be really energized by it.”
Falk bragged continuously that she had earned “the endorsement of almost every single organization that has made an endorsement in the primary” and expects that tens of thousands of union employees are working on an epic get-out-the-vote operation. But the effectiveness of her union supporters at organizing the recall petition effort stands in stark contrast to their failure to shape the Democratic Primary. In response to her poor showing in the polls, Falk implored: “Those polls don’t estimate the passion and commitment of these everyday people who have spent a year going door to door doing everything they can to make sure I’m the candidate.”
But after two years of Big Labor rabble rousing, the Marquette poll indicates 38% of Wisconsin voters, including a majority of Democrats and more than 40% of independents, say the state’s economy has shed jobs over the past year. Among Democrats, 46% said “creating new jobs” was the most important consideration in picking a nominee and just 12% of Democrats said restoring collective bargaining was most important. “It’s not that Democratic primary voters don’t want to see collective bargaining restored, because a big majority seemingly do,” said Wisconsin political scientist Charles Franklin, who conducted the poll. “But in terms of the priority for the election, they have almost remarkably come to focus on jobs as the top issue.”
The slide in the percentage of American workforce union membership fell to a new post–World War II low of 11.8 percent in 2011 according to a study by the Heritage Foundation. Government union participation rose slightly to 37%, but private-sector union membership fell again to a politically marginal 6.9%, a rate lower level than when President Franklin Roosevelt signed the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA).
As Big Labor prepares for a crushing primary defeat tomorrow, rank and file Wisconsin Democrats are focusing on the June 5th election, with Governor Walker and Mayor Barrett are currently running in a competitive dead heat at 46% to 47% of registered voters according to Marquette polling. Big Labor Falk on the other hand, would have been headed to defeat by trailing Governor 42% to 49%. The election is a wake-up call for powerful national and state labor groups like the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employee, United Food and Commercial Workers and Wisconsin Education Association Council who lined up their mega-millions in support of Falk. Yet, Barrett is cruising to victory in the primary after raising just $475,000 according to the latest campaign reports.
The American Wild Badger is stocky and low-slung; they are identifiable by their huge fore claws and distinctive head markings. Badgers are well known for their powerful claws and nasty dispositions when they defend their territory. It seems that the local breed of Democrat badgers is set to remind Big Labor about who has the biggest claws in Wisconsin elections.
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