The recall election against Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker was started because of his efforts to curb the collective bargaining powers of public sector unions. Some union leaders, however, feel the Democrats have deemphasized that issue now that the recall is actually on. One union has decided to speak out by withholding support from Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, the Democratic gubernatorial candidate.
The Daily Page reports that the University of Wisconsin’s Teaching Assistants Association won’t endorse Barrett:
Democrats are making the issue less of a priority in their campaign messaging. Instead, they’re focusing on Gov. Scott Walker’s leadership style and budget cuts rather than offering a forthright defense of unionism and collective bargaining….
“Through his use of Act 10 against the workers in Milwaukee [Barrett] has shown that he is not deserving of support of unions in Wisconsin,” says Dan Suárez, a member of the TAA and a Ph.D. candidate in sociology at UW-Madison. Barrett made use of Walker’s collective bargaining restrictions in Act 10 to increase pension and health care contributions for workers employed by the city of Milwaukee. Barrett has said he took those steps to avoid layoffs of public workers.
It’s one small union, but if this discontent is more broadly shared you wonder what it will do to Democratic get-out-the-vote efforts, which figure to be largely union-driven.