About Kathleen Falk’s Union Endorsements

There are still many people who are upset that Kathleen Falk has received the endorsements of WEAC / Emily's List and AFSCME / John "Sly "Sylvester , the full membership of IBEW and (most importantly) Yours truly!

Lets look at a few objections:

Q. I want Russ Feingold to run.
A. So do I, but he is not running!

Q. I want Peter Barca/Jon Erpenbach/Tom Barrett/David Obey to run for Governor….
A. Tell them that. There is no reason that if someone was interested in running, they would not be in the race already. Let’s not forget that the union leaders talked to ALL possible candidates and felt that the strongest one was Kathleen Falk. Do not blame Kathleen Falk for jumping into the race early and taking advantage of her opportunities.

Q. The party is picking the candidate, we have no choice.

A. How is that even possible? Kathleen Vinehout is also getting in the race. There will be a primary. There should be a primary. Someone will emerge as the candidate. I hope (and think) that it will be Kathleen Falk. That does not diminish the respect I have for the other candidates.

Q. I hope the party stays out of it.
A. The party never endorses a primary candidate and they shouldn’t. The above mentioned people are NOT the democratic party hierarchy.

Q. Kathleen Falk is a Madison liberal.

A. They will use that line on anyone that runs. Just ask President Obama, as he was so “timely” labeled to be the “most liberal Senator.”

Q. She should not have pledged to restore Collective Bargaining Rights.
A. In a recall race about collective bargaining, I want a candidate who will make that pledge.

Q. Kathleen Falk was not at the Capitol everyday fighting for us the way Kathleen Vinehout was.
A. It is Kathleen Vinehout’s job to be at the Capitol everyday. This recall was not done by the handful of protestors who spend everyday at the Capitol, it was done as a group effort of thousands of people throughout the state who did what they could to bring us to this point of taking back our government. We would not be at this point without the collective efforts of everyone.

Q. WEAC or AFSCME members were not consulted.
A. These endorsements were made by the elected leaders of the respective unions. Being elected means two things. One, that they leaders represent the membership. Two if you really do not think that the leadership would have done complete due diligence before making such an important endorsement/recommendation, vote them out in the next election.

Q. I still want Russ Feingold to run.
A. I still do also, but he isn’t.

Q. The unions should have waited until after the primary to make an endorsement.
A. Why should they wait. The unions have a stake in this election as much as anyone so they have every right to endorse early and throw support behind a candidate they like. I think we all know who they would endorse AFTER the primary.

Q. No one knows Kathleen Falk outside of Madison.
A. Really? As politically charged as Wisconsin has become in this past year and you think people do not know who Kathleen Falk is? even for the few who do not, they better get to know her(or whoever the candidate is) quickly.

Q. Kathleen Falk has lost too many statewide elections.
A. She has technically only lost one. She lost a primary(which we will have) where she ran against the Doyle political machine. She did lose a statewide race for Attorney General against JB Van Hollen but, for those who do not remember, she only lost by 9,071 votes.

Q. The unions are telling us who to vote for.
A. Finally, and most importantly, the unions endorsement is just that, an endorsement by the unions. Unions members are not forced to vote for anyone or anything. They are still free to vote for whoever they choose to. We are fighting for the collective bargaining rights of public employees. You want public employees to be treated fairly and have a seat at the table, yet do not think they are smart enough to vote for a different candidate than the union endorses if they think that person is a better candidate?

Everyone take a breath, support your candidate, then lets unite after the primary and fire Scott Walker.


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29 thoughts on “About Kathleen Falk’s Union Endorsements

  1. Right on. Thank you for such a thoughtful, far-sighted post, and thank you for bringing up a lot of facts people need to be reminded of. If people compared the records of Falk and other candidates, they would see that Falk has the best track record on protecting working families and the environment.

  2. “One, that they leaders represent the membership. Two if you really do not think that the leadership would have done complete due diligence before making such an important endorsement/recommendation, vote them out in the next election. ”

    why wait, start a recall drive

  3. Hey stranger…welcome back.

    Why wait because i believe Mary Bell was recently re-elected. Plus its not like she is fundamentally changing the way things work and she only recommended Kathleen Falk …. did not take away the rights of the members….

    1. Jeff,
      I’ve been busy and have only marginally followed politics as of late. How have you been?

      I guess my comment was somewhat tongue in cheek as I have personal philosophical reasons for opposing the recalls. Although I may not have support Walker in 2014, we elected him for four years. Obviously, there are a lot of people that have other views.

      That being said, I think WEAC made a strategic error. The point of the endorsement at this stage is to keep out other candidates out. Other potential candidates are effectively being told we (WEAC) will not financially support you. I can understand why that would make some sense as it avoids the expense of fracturing WEAC’s money across candidates.

      However, the strategy backfires if Falk is not the best potential candidate as it prevents a better (more electable) candidate from entering the race. There appears to be a lot of dissension over the Falk endorsement, which suggests she might not be the best candidate to oppose Walker.

      I watch very little television so I will gratefully miss the barrage of campaign commercials. But if nothing else, the amount of money spend in Wisconsin by the campaigns should boost our economy.

      1. “Although I may not have support Walker in 2014, we elected him for four years.”

        True, but the mechanism for recalling elected officials exists for a reason, and the fact that supporters of the recall were able to gather a number of signatures equal to half of the vote in the 2010 gubernatorial election speaks to how unhappy the electorate is with the sitting governor.

        1. Zach, granted. I recognize that the mechanism exists. There also exists a mechanism under the first and second amendments where you can walk down the street in pink spandex with a holstered 44. Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.

          As for the recalls, I personally don’t feel that it was appropriate under the circumstances and that’s the same for both side’s recall efforts.

          BTW somebody might want to tell the open carry crowd that they don’t become John Wayne just because they have a gun.

          1. I’ll grant your point that just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should (especially when it comes to pink spandex), but in the case of the recalls, I disagree.

            I absolutely think the recalls were warranted, and it’s not as if it’s ridiculously easy to trigger a recall. The folks who organized the recall effort had a herculean task in front of them when it came to gathering enough signatures to trigger a recall, and the fact that they far exceeded the required number of signatures speaks volumes about the fact that a recall should happen in this case.

      2. I understand being too busy, but i was looking for you to come on and comment about all of the MBF happenings, specifically the secrecy agreements/redistricting.

        Endorsements/recommendations are a crap shoot anyway. I think the point of the endorsement is to go all in on Falk not necessarily to keep people out.

        I agree its a crap shoot because if she does become the next gov then they have more influence and if she doesnt then whoever does can use the fact that they did not support them as leverage.

        What I have tried to say is that they did their due diligence and they feel that she is the best candidate – hence the endorsement. Time will tell if they made the right move….im on board

        1. Well, I’ll try to make up for some lost posts:

          The MBF fiasco will make for some interesting law review articles to be sure.

          I saw the post about Epernbach’s letter to MBF. I don’t think his position was accurate because if MBF represents the Senate then their client is the Senate (as the entirety, not the individual members) and would be controlled by the Senate Majority leader.

          Without doing research, I think its roughly the same as a corporate board directing the corporations attorneys. If I’m a shareholder of MSFT, I can’t just write MSFT’s attorneys and ask to see the corporate documents on the basis that they represent me as a shareholder.

          However, the problem with MBF’s actions, as I read the 7th Circuit’s decision (albeit very quickly) was that MBG was not giving legal opinions but rather, political strategy and for that reason the documents were subject to an open records request.

          In other words, the democrats were entitled to review the documents, not because of who they are (State Senators) but rather because the content of the documents did not fall under legal privilege.

          As the 7th Circuit court acknowledge that can be a very fine distinction in some instances. For that reason, I’m sure we will see a lot more of these types of cases in the future.

  4. The only answer I have an issue withis the one regarding collective bargaining and the pledge to veto any budget that doesn’t restore it. You say this recall is about collective bargaining. I respectfully disagree. I know many people who signed recall petitions who couldn’t care less about re-establishing collective bargaining rights (I’m not one of them). This is about much more than that. I don’t see how that pledge helps get her elected. The only thing these early (we still haven’t had it certified that there will be an election, much less a date for said election) endorsements accomplish is keeping others out of the race. What good does that accomplish? I hope I’m wrong, but the way this has transpired I more and more feel like Walker will be re-elected. Everyone who wants him gone should ask themselves if what they are doing will help or hurt that effort. I think these endorsements this early hurt it. But that’s just my opinion and I’m a nobody.

  5. Brian

    Everyone has a voice.

    1. It was collective bargaining and collective bargaining alone that filled the capitol last year, including the day that the 150,000+ people turned up on a saturday. While many issues fuel the recall fire, collective bargaining is the log!

    2. If someone is too intimidated to get in the race because a union endorsed Kathleen Falk, then im thinking they dont have the intestinal fortitude to handle what the republicans are going to throw at them.

  6. Kathleen Falk was not the strongest candidate to begin with, in my opinion, and is even less likely to win statewide election now that she’s stuck being the “hand-picked candidate of the union bosses”, which is the case — whether it’s a fair description or not.

  7. BB thats why we have a primary. In my opinion of the people running she is the strongest candidate.

    Also there is no such thing as a union “boss” as all union leaders are elected.

  8. You said: “Q. She should not have pledged to restore Collective Bargaining Rights.
    A. In a recall race about collective bargaining, I want a candidate who will make that pledge. ”

    Then you, sir, are a idealist. For the Dems to win they have to attract the middle. A middle that doesn’t care that much about collective bargaining. A middle that could be reached by emphasizing Walker’s corruption and especially his “no negotiation” my way or no way style. Well that last one has now been neutralized because Falk has taken a “no negotiation” stance herself.

    I’ve been saying for months now that anyone who was naive enough to think that the recall would restore collective bargaining was fooling themselves (or worse). With the majority that the zealots on the right have in the assembly they will never give in to that. They would gladly see the budget get vetoed. In fact they’d probably gladly not even produce a budget. No budget and government keeps shrinking.

    This election should be about winning and Kathleen Falk made a HUGE tactical mistake. Many of us figured that the unions and the party would find a way to screw this up. As soon as they announced that stupid pledge and Falk said she’d veto a budget that doesn’t include it we knew they had found a way.

    1. “Then you, sir, are a idealist. ”

      Guilty as charged!

      The election should be about winning and restoring peoples rights is a winning strategy….

      Lukas I understand what your saying and what Kathleen is saying. I I am all for her pledge so we will see. Its up to us to flip some of the assembly also and they are making it easier for us by the day.

  9. Jeff,

    I won’t disagree about the 150k at the capitol last year. I’ll even say that it is a driving force in the recall, but those who think it is THE reason for the recall are discounting a lot of people who are more upset with Walker’s methods than with his results. To win this recall you need these people. I don’t think Walker can be beat if this becomes just a referendum on collective bargaining (although it worked in Ohio).

    God I hope I’m wrong, I’m just so afraid that this is going to get screwed up and Walker wins the recall. As for Kathleen Falk, I have no problem with her, although I wish she were a little more charismatic in interviews (I think she’s more charismatic in person). I just don’t like endorsements for an election that hasn’t even been scheduled yet. I do thank you for noting how close the election against Van Hollen was. That gives me a little more faith in her ability to win the state. I’m probably just being too pessimistic.


  10. “You want public employees to be treated fairly and have a seat at the table”

    I’m one of the 94%, We are the taxpayers who are not seated at the public union bargaining table. WEAC and AFSCME pay to get Falk elected and make her PROMISE to veto legislation that doesn’t restore collective bargaining?? Really? That has to be illegal.

  11. Re: The budget veto

    I still haven’t heard a scenario where that works. If there is no new budget, the Walker budget stays in effect. That is not a strong bargaining position to negotiate from. Granted, things could change, but vowing to use it no matter what is reckless (assuming she plans to use it even in a bad situation).

    Vinehout has said that a budget veto is an option, but that she won’t pledge to use it no matter the circumstance. From a purely tactical perspective, that gives her much more flexibility and makes it more likely she would be able to actually restore collective bargaining rights.

  12. I know if many republicans who signed and collected to get walker out. Many of them have said and I quote “If Falk gets the nod they will sit this one out. The tea party would like nothing better than her to face walker as they feel she is a loser and would be easy to knock off. But hey go ahead and back her just don’t complain when walker wins. I will be there to tell you “I told you so”.

  13. I get that many republicans engage in group think and all would say and do the exact same thing, but i am not buying this story.

    Do you have a reason? All of the republicans I stood with at the Capitol were there because they had their rights taken away. What about Kathleen Falk would make someone say….i know he is destroying my childs education, has taken my collective bargaining rights away, spends all of his time away from WI fundraising while whining about outside money but hey i dont like Kathleen Falk so my kid is going to have to suffer.

    1. The people that stood at the capital WILL vote for Kathleen Falk or anyone that the Dems put up because they care. But they are not going to decide the election. You got 1 million signature, but you will need more than 1 million votes. And remember the Republicans will time this so that the college students are at home. It’s the squishy, I’ll make my decision while I’m in line, people that you need to swing to your side or we will lose. Those people are going to get hit with $70 million dollars of negative ads, and Falk just wrote one that will be a winner for the other side. Preaching to the choir doesn’t get you elected, that’s why idealists carp and moan in the minority and pragmatists (i.e., Bill Clinton) get elected.

  14. If this election is only about collective bargaining rights, ya’all should have told that to the thousands of citizens that froze and petitioned and campaigned and have no affiliation with anyone in a public union. Also, you know damn well, if all the money is already going to Falk, nobody else has a fair shot. This is about the dumbest thing you have ever written. I will vote against Falk, in both elections, and I see little reason to ever read your blog again.

  15. Gail,

    150,000 people stormed the capitol square last year because of collective bargaining rights. This was before any of the other stuff had even come out….You do not have to be in a union to want to make sure that everyone has equal rights do you?

    What “money” is already going to falk? Have you seen the latest fundraising numbers? do you think the 300,000 public workers will all give their time, energy and effort to Falk now because someone told them too? Or are they orofessional enough to make up their own mind? everyone else had the same chance at the endorsements and didnt earn them. Every candidate had “fair shot” to earn the endorsements.

    Thats what is great about this country. Vote for Scott Walker….have at it… Just know that if you think you were upset about things he did before wait until he wins a recall election…..Good luck with that.

    Also feel free to never come back. We welcome all readers/commenters/contributors but we dont beg anyone nor would I. If our blog is not doing ot for you, might I suggest badgerblogger?

  16. “It was collective bargaining and collective bargaining alone that filled the capitol last year”

    Horseshit! I was there because of the antidemocratic way these bastards were doing it. Those of us who had been paying attention to these kind of scumbags for DECADES knew exactly where it was going, if not the exact route. They are Neoliberals, Jeff. They have an ideology of absolute corporate capitalism, and they have been doing exactly the same crap in third-world countries for years- stealing elections, busting unions, annihilating environmental protections, giving away government money to well-connected companies, etc. Environmental, social justice, and union activists know all about Colombia, for example. That’s their model. It’s the same system applied in Egypt for decades under Mubarak- so it was only fitting that the same day that the enforcer of Neoliberalism in Egypt fell, Walker tried to introduce it to Wisconsin! There were plenty of Egyptian flags around the Capitol for the first few days (until the union leaders told people to stop, bastards!), and rightly so.

    How can you not remember the REAL event that kicked it off? It wasn’t the 14 senators going to Illinois- that didn’t happen until Thursday. On Tuesday (two days earlier!) there were 20,000 people at the Capitol. What REALLY kicked it off was the article on the front page of practically every newspaper saying that Walker was ending union recognition and said the WI national guard was “prepared”. Well we know exactly what the history of the national guard is- this was the declaration of war against the people of Wisconsin. Collective Bargaining had nothing to do with it.

    1. What REALLY kicked it off was the article on the front page of practically every newspaper saying that Walker was ending union recognition and said the WI national guard was “prepared”.

      the ending of unions recognition….the end of peoples rights to collectively bargained filled the Capitol, everything else was icing on the cake….


    Union boss Gooch McGowan, local 139, Operating Engineers – you know, the road builders – SUPPORTED WALKER FOR GOV and CONTINUES SUPPORTING union busting WALKER with money and union paid staff support paid for with rank-and-file members union dues.

    Boss McGowan even spent 10s of thousands of dollars of the 9,000 union member’s dues money, snail mailing them a 4 page letter trying to justify his continued support for Walker after receiving incredible pushback from the normally timid members.

    Boss McGowan lords over the local 139 dispatch/hiring hall that has a decades long documented history of retaliation, preferential treatment and discrimination ($1.5 million dollars recently paid to 10 women and minority union members)

  18. Like hell! No one was talking about that for days, and then it was coming from the union ‘leaders’ and Democrats! The cuts themselves, maybe (funny how everyone forgot about those when the unions offered them up if bargaining was restored); the crushing of democracy, definitely!

    Do you have anything else to say, or are you just going to repeat your false assertion again?

  19. i was in the capitol and that is exactly what everyone was talking about. That is why people drove down from all over the state. When the protests happened he had not even introduced his budget, etc…just let everyone know that he was trying to end people’s rights.

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