Don’t be fooled: Walker’s recall is not about collective bargaining rights

Recently, local news stations in the Milwaukee area have reported that Walker’s recall is due to the issue of collective bargaining rights. But that’s simply not the case. The loss of the right to collectively bargain may have propelled Wisconsinites to storm the Capitol last February, but that’s not what his recall is ultimately about. Don’t be fooled; this recall is about the Wisconsin way vs. the Walker way.

What has galvanized Wisconsinites of all political stripes and prompted the collection of recall signatures is Walker’s radical methodology and agenda. It takes much more than one single issue to spur the electorate into action. The level of sustained political involvement we’ve witnessed here in the past year is historic, and its underlying cause is simple: the Walker administration has little regard for long-held Wisconsin values and ways.

Had more voters known Walker would seek to undermine the Wisconsin way in order to advance ALEC-sponsored legislation, he would never have been elected in the first place.

During a press conference Tuesday morning, Representative Peter Barca described his travels across the state and his conversations with “large numbers” of Republicans and Independents who had voted for Walker for Governor but who are now gathering signatures for his recall. They cite Walker’s dishonesty and lack of transparency as main reasons for joining the recall effort.

Democrats and some Republicans and Independents with whom I’ve spoken here in Waukesha County have told me the same thing. They don’t want be “of the corporations, by the corporations and for the corporations.” They want a return to Democracy. And as Rep. Barca reiterated this morning, the “hallmark of American and Wisconsin Democracy” is first amendment rights. They want those back, too.

For example, nobody wants to have to get a permit or liability insurance just to sing or protest on state property. We’ve never had to do that before, and certainly not at our state capitol. That’s not the Wisconsin way; it’s Scott Walker’s way.

Scott Walker’s ways have transformed our state from a practical as well as an ideological standpoint. For the first time in our history, we lead the nation in job loss. According to Mike Tate, who also spoke at Tuesday’s press conference, “34,900 Wisconsinites are out of work,” and Walker’s party voted to make those seeking jobs wait an extra week to receive their unemployment benefits.

That’s not the Wisconsin way.

Neither is drastically cutting education, eliminating the Earned-income Tax Credit and the Homestead Tax Credit to raise taxes on the working poor, or making it harder for seniors, students and people of color to vote.

Wisconsinites also  get a little nervous when the FBI finds it necessary to raid the homes of our Governor’s former staff in the middle of the night. Regardless of party affiliation, we find John Doe investigations unsettling, as we don’t tolerate political corruption here in Wisconsin. And we don’t take kindly to Walker’s use of frivolous lawsuits as a method to distract voters, either. It’s a waste of taxpayer money. Nobody likes that, and it’s certainly not the Wisconsin way.

Clearly, the recall effort is not simply about collective bargaining. It’s about how, in just one short year, Walker has managed to radically change the essence of our state. Governor Walker has altered the very characteristics that make our state so special.

But the one thing Walker cannot change is our inherent drive to do what it takes to defend our values, even if it means standing out in the freezing cold to gather signatures while enduring profanities, shouts of “get a job!” and worse. We won’t back down and we won’t give up, no matter how much corporate money we’re up against. That’s the Wisconsin way.


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30 thoughts on “Don’t be fooled: Walker’s recall is not about collective bargaining rights

  1. It’s about representation. Do our elected officials represent and serve the people of Wisconsin or do they serve a corporate master? When Walker shut off the legislative hotline after the protests began, it was clear that his administration does not represent the people.

  2. Well said, and thanks for being a steady progressive voice from Waukesha County (my hometown is Brookfield, but for many years now, from Madison). Keep up the good work.

  3. Fantastic piece, Waukesha Wonk! I was very encouraged to read about Peter Barca’s press conference, he’s the person I have most been hoping would arise as a gubernatorial candidate in any recall election. He is poised and articulate. Good to know he’s been talking to a lot of Republicans and Independents!!

  4. Thank you very much for this, and keep saying it, because our fine newspapers and media aren’t.
    Oh, and if I might mention this, you forgot about Walker handing over the environment to his corporate overlords. When you’ve got hippie environmentalists working with hunting/fishing interests to defeat Walker’s agenda, you know Walker has cast his screw-the-people net very wide indeed.

  5. Lisa,

    Welcome to Blogging Blue and I hate to do this, but I am going to disagree with you right off the bat. The reason for the recall is 100% that he took the collectuve bargaining rights away from public employees. People do not like having their rights taken away if they use them or not. We did not storm the Capitol because of any of those things, we descended on Madison strictly because he took the rights away of Wisconsinites.

    I agree that all of the egregious things that you mentioned are fuel to the fire but collective bargaining rights are the logs that burn. Had the democrats in the Senate recall elections figured that out last summer we would probably have another eat or two. If in the upcoming elections if the democratic candidates do not get that fact then we will be sitting back wondering what we can do to take back our government again.

    1. Jeff, don’t worry, I have absolutely no problem with disagreement, and I like constructive criticism.

      Here’s the thing: I like to try to be thoughtful with what I write, so my posts may be…subtle, and my points may not be immediately obvious. That’s not my style of writing.

      The downside is that it can be much easier to miss my larger point, and readers may misinterpret what I write. I get that, and I’m okay with it. I’m not going to change my style, because I like it.

      The point I was trying to make here is that it’s all about RIGHTS. Not just the right to collectively bargain, but Wisconsin rights we’ve had for years that Walker has taken away (the Wisconsin way).

      “The loss of the right to collectively bargain may have propelled Wisconsinites to storm the Capitol last February, but that’s not what his recall is ultimately about. Don’t be fooled; this recall is about the Wisconsin way vs. the Walker way.”

      Of course, I understand what you’re saying, but the reason I wrote the post is this: Walker wants us to focus ONLY on the collective bargaining rights issue because when we do that we miss everything else. That’s not okay.

      I’ve written this response pre-coffee, so hopefully it makes sense. 🙂


    2. I’m sorry, but not 100%, because then that would include me. I have absolutely no stake in the collective bargaining aspect. I am upset at his lies and his desire to eliminate social programs to benefit large companies. His new program changes and “proposed” ones have a terribly negative effect on both self-employed people like myself, and on small businesses trying to get started.

  6. Jeff,

    You are so wrong. It’s all about that darn ALEC conspiracy.

    It is the root of all of the world’s suffering and pain, just as the Koch brothers are.

    Please run all of the ads that you can so you can get the word out about these evil people and their horrible agenda.

    George Soros is even running scared from them.

  7. You are blind!

    Diamond Jim Doyle and his liberal cronies rammed through a 1% increase in the income tax in the middle of the night with only 24 hours notice.

    You aren’t mad about that now are you? The Democrats left a trail of fiscal destruction in this state. Business are leaving in droves, but you would rather hold hands and sing “We shall prevail” Oh really?

    You see only the things you want to. Now how about taking off the glasses for a little reality.

    1. C’mon John, didn’t your mom ever tell you that “two wrongs don’t make a right”? Lately it seems the quick defense of a Walker wrong is to compare it to a Doyle wrong, as if that makes it ok. The difference to me, as someone who supports the recall? There’s just way too many Walker wrongs.

  8. Sammy,

    They have been doing the koch and Alec bidding for a long time now. Scott walker going for a power grab and ending collective bargaining rights made people actually start paying attention to what was happening!

  9. If walkers reforms are SOOOO bad why is the state out of debt, operating on a surplus ( dispite having to pay for these constant recalls and additional security at the capitol) and best of all why did Tom Barret his opponent in the past election use these tools in his own city successfully and in fact try to go even farther?
    I’ll answer that for you since clearly you are too blinded by the unions to see the forest through the trees, we were broke. He had to do something to fix the problem. I appreciate a man of action. Sometimes you may not agree with his actions (cough Obama care cough) but I’m not going to impeach someone and remove him from office thereby negating all the votes cast for him in the election. It is amazing this system of recall is tearing down democracy. We voted you lost. I’m sorry, it happens. Time to suck it up ride it out and rally your troops in the NEXT ELECTION! Believe me if walker gets recalled which he probably will your group, the unions and the the zombie freaks have worn down a very silent majority that can’t wait to vote for walker to hopefully put an end to this madness. Good luck on your burgeoning writing career. Hopefully in the future you can put your talents to use for good instead of for the rabble that can’t wait to waste at least 10 million tax payer dollars on this petty recall.

    1. Jorge, let me address some of your lunacy…

      It is amazing this system of recall is tearing down democracy.

      No, it is democracy. It is the soul of democracy. It is the very definition of democracy. Wake up.

      We voted you lost. I’m sorry, it happens. Time to suck it up ride it out and rally your troops in the NEXT ELECTION!

      The next election is the recall election. Suck it up. It’s going to happen whether you want it to or not.

      Believe me if walker gets recalled which he probably will your group, the unions and the the zombie freaks have worn down a very silent majority that can’t wait to vote for walker to hopefully put an end to this madness.

      If he gets recalled, how will the “very silent majority” (which doesn’t exist except in the fantasy world the voices in your head keep telling you is real) vote for Walker? He’ll have been recalled already. Are you drunk? Do you not know how this process works?

      Good luck on your burgeoning writing career. Hopefully in the future you can put your talents to use for good instead of for the rabble that can’t wait to waste at least 10 million tax payer dollars on this petty recall.

      I’m pretty sure… no strike that… I’m positive Lisa is putting her talents to good use here at Blogging Blue. Frankly, I don’t consider $10MM spent on democracy a waste.

    2. You’re a very angry person.

      Having said that, I got the same talking points you did from the Club For Growth, and I’d appreciate something a little more substantive than talking points.

      The fact is, labor unions agreed to financial concessions on health insurance premiums and pension contributions BEFORE Gov. Walker introduced Act 10, so why the need to go to the lengths Act 10 went to in removing almost all collective bargaining rights for employees? The fact is, the collective bargaining/public employee portions of Act 10 were all about breaking the backs of public employee unions; that’s why Walker and Republicans made it harder for unions to recertify, and that’s why they did away with automatic dues deductions.

      Try to wrap your brain around what I just wrote, then come back here with something other than a talking point.

  10. Collective bargaining in Wisconsin is not a right, it’s statutorily granted. Calling it a right about 3 gazillion times does not make it so.

    If the left was bent on making collective bargaining a right you certainly controlled the state government for enough years to accomplish that. Opportunity squandered it appears.

  11. Lisa,
    Were you to spend more time reading Orwell, and less time re-reading your own various posts, you might find a prose that is much more truthful and less “subtle.” “Subtle” is a pleasant euphemism for “vague” or “deceptive.”

    For example, there is no such thing as a “Wisconsin Way” and calling self-serving list of clearly biased opinions without analysis or detail such is just bad writing.

    Secondly, to contend that Walker’s legislation was made by ALEC is also questionable. To be clear you should note that ALEC is one of many groups—Like WEAC—which seek influence. WEAC sought influence through the sum of its member’s political contributions—like ALEC. If ALEC is such a renegade and degenerate institution, you should present the facts to be clear. Otherwise, you should write that in the past—and during the Doyle administration—many groups, like giant gambling cartels, wrote legislative templates they sought to have adopted.
    Likewise, you should avoid empty and meaningless phrases like “of the corporations, by the corporations and for the corporations.”Is your intent here to substitute fragments of language for critical thought? At least you should be specific about your concerns with corporations as well the names of the specific corporations you are concerned about. Consider how specific Jefferson is in the Declaration of Independence.

    Perhaps you have a point about “permits and liability insurance” and the state capital, but you need to explain why these amount to an abridgement of your First Amendment rights. You also do better when you quote Barca about the number of jobs lost in Wisconsin. This is more specific, but Walker stated he would create “x”number of jobs by the end of a certain term. Are there more jobs than when he took office? Were you ready to recall Doyle when Wisconsin lost jobs under his term?
    Further, to object to Walker’s cuts to the education, the Earned Income T.C., Homestead, or others without explaining why he was mistaken or what he might have otherwise done is not “subtle” but just vague. You ask the reader to jump to conclusions which suit your end. In the same paragraph you also mention that Walker has made it harder for “people of color” to vote. By this do you mean that they are less “able” than whites to take the minor steps to get a photo ID? “Subtle” or racist?

    You are right that we should be concerned when FBI agents find it necessary to raid the homes of former Walker staffers. But, here you are intentionally vague about the matter. Our justice system is predicated on the presumption of innocence, and unless the government can produce some substantive charges we, as citizens, should be deeply suspicious of the FBI actions. The same is true for an 18 month secret John Doe investigation run by a leaky DA who is “investigating” his way toward a political enemy. This should turn your stomach. In the same paragraph, you mention “frivolous” lawsuits. “Frivolous” is another meaningless term. The whole contention seems to be that the GAB is not fulfilling its duties. If it is possible that Walker is not doing his duties as you see them, isn’t it possible that the GAB could also fail to protect the rights of voters? This analysis is clear even when one reads your own link to yourself (must be nice to be your own source for analysis).

    Finally, you conclude with two paragraphs of gigantic generalizations and hysterical claims about the state being “radically” different “in essence.” Again, this is what Orwell would call sloppy language for sleepy people. The reader of any political viewpoint can only assume you think they are stupid, unthinking, and overly emotional.

    In short, you’re fooling nobody.

    1. Patrick, I’ll never post a response to a comment on my blog post before I’m fully caffeinated again. 🙂
      “Subtle” was not the best word choice, I agree.

      I’m not trying to fool anyone; I’m simply expressing my opinions based upon factual evidence and personal experiences.

      I thank you for taking the time to analyze my post, and I have considered your points, but please understand that this is NOT a term paper, it’s a blog. The formats are entirely different.


    2. One last point, Patrick: I hope that you hold all writers to the same high standards to which you have held me. I would be very interested in reading your analysis of one of James Widgerson’s posts, for example.

      1. While I don’t really know anything about James Widgerson, I’ll assume he is a conservative blogger. I should have some more spare time this weekend. Did you have a post in mind?

        Can you provide a link?

  12. I am obviously biased, and would like to explain my beliefs so there is no confusion about where I come. I am a white, Catholic, mid-forties, conservative male who once belonged to a private sector union but has never worked for the government. I admit to being conservative but certainly not Republican as my distaste for the vast majority of politicians crosses all party lines. I have friends and relatives who are federal employees, police, teachers, union, non-union, rich, poor, employed and unemployed. They all know me as opinionated and passionate, especially when it concerns discussions of government policy.
    Many discussions, most heated, have resulted in me compiling my most frequently heard reasons in favor of the Scott Walker recall. They are: it was unfair to eliminate collective bargaining; he is taking money from state employees and the methods used to pass act 10 were sleazy. I am of the opinion that all three are incredibly shortsighted.
    Let’s begin with collective bargaining, the system created for groups of employees to negotiate wages, work hours, and workplace conditions, which in Wisconsin government led to cases of multiple fully funded pensions, free Viagra, early retirement and golden parachute policies. Unfortunately these deals were negotiated between government boards and unions with absolutely no regard for the people paying the bill; the Wisconsin taxpayer. Born of this unfortunate circumstance came possibly the most egregious scam: WEA trust, the health care provider owned by the unions which billed above market average rates to: you guessed it, the Wisconsin taxpayer. Despite popular belief, Act 10 didn’t remove all collective bargaining rights as government workers retained the ability to negotiate pay increases.
    I can empathize with the government workers who now have to pay increased amounts for their health insurance. No one is ever happy to be taking home less money, and in some instances it will cost government employees a few thousand dollars a year. A few years ago my co-workers and I assumed a 24% increase in our health insurance rates. In fact, according to my current health care provider, the average private sector health plan increases an average of 10-12% per year. Taking this into consideration, government employees going from paying nothing to 12% doesn’t sound overly outrageous. It is also telling to note the many school districts that have dropped WEA trust and went with more economical plans once they were obligated to pay a percentage out of their own pockets.
    As for the process there was absolutely no chance that Walker’s budget reform bill would be passed without much consternation. The Democrats, with the aid of the government employee unions, who coincidentally are their largest financial supporters, pulled out all stops to turn public opinion against act 10 and Governor Walker. The debate could have gone on for months, and in fact did, but the bottom line is Walker had a plan to balance the budget, enacted it and it works.
    Doyle’s administration was taxation without representation, Walker is doing exactly what he was voted in to do, argue the results with an open mind and you’ll understand that there were no other options.
    As for conceal carry, voter ID, dumping the halfast train and Hoan bike lane are all supported by 80% of Wisconsinites, we are finally being represented.

  13. Why is it the Middle class are the ones to foot the bill to pay off our indebtness? What about the rich, the senators, congress and governors paying there fair share. The have the best pensions in the United States and they do not pay anything into it. Also they get paid even when they don’t show up for work, do you? They also have one of the best health insurances and that is fine, isn’t it. It SUCKS!!! I am not a writer I am just a middle class hardworking person who is expressing her angry about the middle class always having to carry the ball. Oh and about all the jobs created……..can you live an $10.00 an hour?? Wow I’d be living the dream on that, NOT!!!!

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