AFL-CIO tries to downplay Wisconsin recall -
From The Washington Post:
The AFL-CIO was heavily involved in the recall campaign against Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R). But on the day after Walker soundly defeated Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett (D), the union’s president downplayed the results and distanced the national organization from the recall effort.
“We didn’t decide on this recall,” Richard Trumka told reporters on a conference call this afternoon. “It was the workers in Wisconsin and the voters in Wisconsin who did.”
Trumka also repeatedly argued that the recall results had little larger siginficance for the labor movement, calling it an “an off-year special election.”
“Recalls are pretty unique and they’re pretty tough to win,” he said. “This isn’t the crystal ball that predicts the future. This is a very unique circumstance.”
He said he wished the recall election had focused on unions, but that in the end, it was more general: “This particular election wasn’t about collective bargaining in the past month. I wish it had been, but it wasn’t. It was about everything.”
Voters in Ohio repealed an anti-collective bargaining law by referendum, Trumka noted.
Numerous volunteers and union members said the recall had generated levels of participation and turnout on a level they had never seen before.
But unions in the state are not only weakened by the loss, they are facing dropping membership thanks to Walker’s reforms, which eliminated automatic dues collection and recertification for most public sector unions.