Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Wisconsin - Not Our Waterloo

If you listened to right-wing commentators after the Walker recall election, you heard about the declining influence of organized labor. This was not our last stand! Unlike Napoleon in the battle of Waterloo, we have not been defeated and exiled never to be heard from again. If anything, we have been reenergized in our fight to prevent the one per centers from destroying our country. As USW International President Leo W. Gerard stated, the defeat was “disappointing, but we’re not done fighting for workers’ rights.”

The two biggest factors in the recall was the huge amount of money spent by the Walker campaign to keep his job, thanks to the “Citizens United” ruling by the Supreme Court and the debate on whether utilizing the recall procedure for anything rather than malfeasance is the proper use of this type of referendum.

This was a perfect example of corporate money drowning out the voices of real people. According to the New York Times, Walker and his Republican allies spent $45.6 million on the race as of May 21, while Barrett and his allies spent $17.9 million. The other factor was the recall itself. In exit polling results compiled by the New York Times, 68 percent of those voting for Walker believed recall elections should only be held for reasons of official misconduct, which I believe played a major role in the outcome of this election.

We should all be proud of our union and all of organized labor’s work in this election. If anything, our resolve to stand up and fight to protect our rights from the corporate elite is stronger than ever and battle tested. The challenge is great but as our past USW President George Becker was often quoted, “failure is not an option!”

Connie Entrekin, SOAR President

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