WEAC endorses Kathleen Falk….but why so early?

Well, it looks like the unions are trying to dissuade any Democrats other than Kathleen Falk from running in a Democratic gubernatorial recall primary, as earlier today Wisconsin Education Association Council (WEAC) has recommended Kathleen Falk for governor once a recall election against Republican Gov. Scott Walker is certified.

In a related story, Dan Bice of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported earlier today that the American Federation of State, County and Muncipal Employees (AFSCME) will be making a gubernatorial endorsement in the coming weeks, with sources reporting Falk is expected to win AFSCME’s endorsement.

I find the timing of these endorsements curious, given there’s still no set date for the recall election against Gov. Walker. It’s still reeeeeeeaaaaaalllllllyyyyy early, especially considering there are only two announced candidates, leaving me to wonder if organized labor is lining up behind Kathleen Falk in order to dissuade any other Democrats from jumping into the race.

I’m finding it really hard to get enthusiastic about the possibility that I’ll be forced to choose either Kathleen Falk or Kathleen Vinehout to be the Democratic gubernatorial candidate.


Related Articles

38 thoughts on “WEAC endorses Kathleen Falk….but why so early?

  1. I would think that endorsements now from the unions will help secure funds for the race. I also suspect that some among the unions view a primary as not a good thing. I normally applaud a primary, but this is a very unique set of circumstances, and we just have to defeat Walker. Might a primary use needed money that could be spent on the recall, and also work to divide when we need to unite? There are no real answers to the questions, but something to ponder all the same.

    Shortly before the signatures were turned in at a union meeting here in Madison it was announced that unions would try and unite behind a candidate, and make early endorsements. I think the unions have a plan to make this work, and have to hope they know what they are doing.

    1. Gregory, this is a very unique set of circumstances, but given what’s at stake, shouldn’t we try to get it right?

      A Democratic gubernatorial primary allows us to field the best possible candidate, instead of being stuck with whomever was handpicked by the unions. I’m as pro-labor as the next guy, but I’m not gonna have a candidate shoved down my throat before the field has even been set.

      I want a primary, not a coronation.

        1. I just think that letting the unions dictate who the Democratic gubernatorial candidate will be just reinforces the conservative meme about “union bosses” calling the shots.

  2. One reason I’ve been lackadaisical about my union involvement is that it seems like every single time they’ve endorsed a candidate, it’s not the one I would want.

    That, and that fact that I’m not much of a joiner …

    I did not recommit to my union after decertification, reasoning that my bucks would be better spent on direct political action … so why did a brand new union card come to me in the mail the other day?

    Don’t get me wrong: I am pro-union. It’s just that these are tough times.

    1. @ SuzyMetta4

      Hey Suzy,

      I’m not even sure if you’ll even remember it. It’s been a while.

      Anyway, caught up in the partisan passions flowing at that time, I misinterpreted something that you wrote in the comment thread of a post about OWS, and accused you of being a concern troll.

      Since I haven’t seen you around here much of late, opportunities to offer an apology have been few and far between. I tried to offer one once before. I’m not sure if you ever saw it, but if you care to read it, you can find it here:


      [My comment appears around halfway through the comment thread, at 11:25 a.m. on January 9th].

      In any event, since you’ve popped up here, I wanted to take this opportunity to offer an apology for what I had to say that day. I hope that you’ll accept it.

  3. This indeed does display quite vividly the perverse power of the public unions. And if Falk wins, where does that leave the taxpayer in the newly restored collective bargaining process? Screwed, that’s where! How are the taxpayers represented AT ALL?? Collective bargaining would involve the following parties: AFSCME or WEAC bargaining with in the end, Falk who they endorsed and funded. And this is what we always had folks with collective bargaining for government employees. It’s the very reason why it should have never existed in the first place.

    It’s not about demonizing state workers. It’s not about trying to underpay them or take away their benefits. They should be paid well, especially teachers! But this is ludicrous! I will NOT have unions buying my governor! And before you start cranking off about Koch’s buying Walker, let me remind you the Koch’s don’t even live in Wisconsin. So give some specifics on what Walker has done for the Koch’s in with taxpayer’s money.

    1. “It’s not about trying to underpay them or take away their benefits. They should be paid well, especially teachers!”

      Everything Scott Walker and Republicans in the legislature have done is designed to take away benefits and cut pay for public employees.

  4. This does not stop a primary. Vinehut is in. It is time for all of the fencesitters to jump on one side or the other and lets have it out. I have known that there was going to be a recall election since the day they announced they had half the signatures needed in two weeks and I am sure all of the rest of the dem elected officials did also. In or out guys and gals and lets move on.

    Who do you all want in anyway?

    JB – that is one of the most tired and ridiculous talking points there is. I agree we need all money out of politics but its all in or all out( which is why i agree with what President Obama did by taking PAC money and disagree (at this moment) with Garvey’s idealism). Dont whine to me about unions endorsing a candidate who wins then negotiating with them.

    Have you seen the legislation that Walker and the republicans have enacted? think you could tie that directly to donors at all?

  5. Jeff- I agree with your point that it’s time for the other Dems to consider the race to jump in or say they’re out. The election vs, Walker WILL happen, probably in the next 3-4 months, so get your name out there. Peter Barca, Ron Kind, and Steve Kagen, THAT MEANS YOU, as any of you 3 would probably beat the 2 Kathleens.

    Like Zach, I also have a problem with the unions seeming to want to push other candidates in or out of the race, and WEAC endorsing Falk seems to be the type of behind-the-scenes, done-at-the-top-level deal that is the exact opposite this bottom-up recall movement has been about (and the type of conniving that makes plenty of people not want to vote for Kathy Falk).

    I encourage all other unions and most pro- Dem organizations to understand that the people have caused this historic recall election, ande the people deserve the chance to pick the candidate. STAY OUT of the endorsement game, let the people make the call, and save your efforts for cleaning up our state by blowing out Scott Walker, Becky Kleefisch, and 4 GOP Senators.

  6. In all seriousness I’d like to compliment you (Zach) on your series of intelligent and ethical remarks. I don’t think you reminded people that “the unions” got pissy with Tom Barrett earlier in the process and attempted to “discourage” him from running. I am not a Barrett fan, but I believe from their behavior, we can conclude it’s never going to be “too soon” for WEAC et al.
    LOL @ your feelings re: Kathleen Squared. If those are my choices I will be staying home. As will other family members (we discussed it, we have contempt for The Kathleens) .

    The bottom line re: a primary is that Democrats (the party decision-makers, those great Captains of Democracy) can not have it both ways. To wheeze off the enthusiastic grass-roots-i-ness of the rage and rabble, to allow them to take time away from work and family, to stomp around the state, doing all the heavy lifting, but then (oh, but you saw this coming way back there didn’t you?) “take over” and plug in a favorite son (daughter) of the party’s choice, ALL WHILE loudly screeching This Is What Democracy Looks Like, well, the irony is just too much.
    This is also the fundamental difference in the two parties. Republicans embrace (to the point of inflating) ideological sub-groups. Democrats on the other hand work very very hard to keep them out. It’s dam hard to “fit” into the Democrat party. You’d think it would be the other way around, given the authoritarian underpinnings of conservatism you’d think that would be the exclusionary party, but it isn’t.
    Democrats distrust those “too far Left”, the Republicans can not embrace right-wing extremism tightly enough. Democrats abhor Greens, or rather fear them. Any populist movement is welcomed early -on, but only so long as that wave provides something for an established Democrat to surf to glory on. Then that Wave can be nice and just go die somewhere. We hate mess.
    Yet Republicans pump small numbers of Tea Partiers, Birchers, Birthers, and anyone else remotely resonant with the party’s goals with publicity-steroids. Go figure.
    The situation in Wisconsin is about a helluva a lot more than Unions, but I expect the party to ignore that fact. I expect the party to behave like what it is caricatured to be, as you say here- to be all about the Unions.

    WHAT does Democracy look like?
    I’m beginning to forget already. And as far as “the unions” having a plan to “make it all work” I could really give a Flying Flock about what the Unions have planned. I’m a citizen of Wisconsin, I’ve been voting for the INDIVIDUAL human beings that I feel best about in each and every election for 35 years now, and I’ll be god-damned if I’m going to applaud while Union elitists OR Koch elitists “plan” our government.
    Kathleen Vinehout has expressed her desire to be Governor since before she even won that first Assembly seat. That in itself is mighty weird. Now that she’s a gubernatorial candidate – will a brighter light be shone upon her? Will we look for real qualifications and accomplishments? Among the many many things Scott Walker (and others like the one in Mich.) has taught us, he certainly has proven just how powerful the office of Governor really is. Or will we all just continue to gurgle about how “warm” and huggy she is? And who IS Kathleen Falk beyond the woman who got in that Ugly High School Girl’s Bathroom Fight with Peg Lautenschlager years back? That was nasty, and Falk did NOT come off looking “stateman-y” or even a tiny bit decent. Russ had to step in an force the party back together, remember that? It was very strange. Yet now (because she wants the corner office) Falk says she’s a Uniter Not A Divider. Have we heard that one before somewhere…I think maybe we did.

    Yeah, I”d really like to see a few REAL candidates after all the sturm und drang we’ve been through this past year. I surely would.

  7. I’m not as down about it as Q- I think the Dems take quite a few groups with a difference of opinion, but they don’t tolerate each other very well and waste too much time trying to grab the power for themselves. WEAC’s stupid coronation of Falk is a good example of this.

    But hey, if Barca, Kind, or Kagen don’t go into the race in the next 2 weeks, I’LL jump in. (C’mon guys, I really don’t want to, but someone has to)

  8. After all the complaining we’ve done about the right, I’d suggest we tell anyone requesting candidates to sign pledges to shove it.

  9. If anyone cares to take a look, WEAC’s Facebook page is absolutely blowing up with negative feedback on their decision to prematurely endorse Falk. Many of their rank and file members are NOT happy AT ALL.

  10. Jimspice- That’s one of my biggest problems with this- it’s a very top-down GOP way to do things. The people who supported the recall effort and the protestors did so because that “smoke-filled room” style of governance that screws over common people doesn’t work. And now WEAC and Falk pull something right out of that 20th Century style of politics.

    In a weird way, this would help any Dem candidate that would beat Falk, especially if that candidate wouldn’t go behind the scenes like she did. GOP’s have their game plan for battling Falk, but it becomes hard to go “union puppet” on the candidate who wasn’t endorsed by WEAC, isn’t it? Even if that candidate will work to restore union rights every bit as much as Falk would.

  11. Reeeeeeeealllllly early is right. Earlier than you think. Who do you think knocked on her door and told her to run? big public unions want their revenue stream back.

  12. Why is it that public unions are in some special moral category when it comes to politics? Everyone who wants something from government works to elect leaders friendly to their interest on every single level. Do you think the anti-abortion crowd doesn’t want something from the people they elect when they give massive amounts of money and run “informational advertising”. When the big box stores want to fill in a reserved wetland so they can hire a bunch of people who make so little money that they end up on badgercare they go buy themselves a Governor and some legislators directly. The same when the Koch brothers want to get their hands on a power plant without competitive bidding. They do it secretly and quietly and nobody knows about the deal until the permits are issued. Public unions proudly stand up, endorse a candidate and clearly stand for what they want. No secrets, no lies and no hiding their agenda. They want the hard working people who provide necessary public services to be compensated in fair measure for the work they do and then to be able to retire from that work with dignity. Just like every other group with an agenda in this country they get involved in politics. Why should they live by special rules? You can’t rationally make an argument that politicians treat them better than they deserve. Unions got Jim Doyle elected and they got Barack Obama elected and neither did shit for unions.

  13. Paul,

    You see the problem is very unique as it relates to collective bargaining for public workers. In private unions there’s owners and employees. In public unions the taxpayers are the boss, but they get no representation at the bargaining table. You see that picture in the news yesterday with Mary Bell of WEAC standing right next to Falk? There’s where the negotiations end. They pay to get her elected and they in essence bargain with her. She can veto any unfavorable legislation that makes it to her desk and has much as promised to already. It’s a corrupt system under the guise of “worker’s rights”. it should be illegal.

    Please cite me some specifics on big box companies corrupting politicians. As for those power plants, Doyle should have sold them himself but vetoed the bill to do so because it would have cost 270 jobs. Walker nixed Doyle’s plan to convert them to biomass because of the expense. His philosophy I share, and that is the state has no business owning power plants. Their value is questionable anyway since the EPA has warned about their pollution for some time.

    1. james, you’re absolutely wrong. Taxpayers do have representation at the bargaining table in the form of the elected officials they send to Madison. For years Democrats and Republicans alike (including many of the same Republicans who are now rabidly anti-union) negotiated in good faith with public employees unions on behalf of Wisconsin’s taxpayers.

  14. James you come so close to reality and then take a hard right veer at the end…..

    Lets look at a couple things…

    Who do you think public employees negotiated with for the most part? Teachers for instance negotiate with school boards. Last I checked school boards are elected all over the state., So they are in effect bargaining with the taxpayers.

    Your response here makes it look like scott walker & the fitz brothers are pure of heart in their bills passed because they dont like the unions. Who do you think the republicans were appeasing when they put in the Las Vegas Loophole allowing banks to avoid taxes in WI if they opened a po box in Las Vegas? was it maybe the banks who donated to them who got them elected who then went in and negotiated with them to get what they wanted?

    WMC also http://bloggingblue.com/2011/09/02/we-must-break-up-wmc/ Why did the republicans spend the first month giving WMC everything they wanted before they worried about the budget? hmmmmmmm

    Finally in terms of power plants, yes they have their own problems as part of government, so lets privatize them to two brothers who live in Kansas who have no stake in WI and no accountability to the people of WI. Sounds like a grand idea!

  15. Unions = special interests
    Unions promising money to officials who restore their collective bargaining = bribery
    Falk getting the union nod and the money that goes with it = whoring herself out for special interests

  16. Kim – Unions represent the interest of working people, there is no broader interest in this entire country. If you have to define that as “special” you are either deceived or part of the top 1% of wage earners. Look a the difference between states with a strong union presence and right to work states. Right to work states median salary is lower and there is no difference in unemployment. Unions protect all working people.

    Jeff – you are 100% wrong. For one thing, as a consumer you are the one paying for every raise or benefit a private sector employee receives. Labor is a portion of the cost in every item you buy or service you receive. It is the same with public services. You actually have far more influence over my contract, which has to pass the legislature where you are represented, every time it is renegotiated than you do over the contract of your plumbers or iron workers or carpenters where you never see details.

    You also failed to address my point at all. When has a public employee union received special treatment? State governments are the ones who have asked union members to take their compensation in benefits, benefits which due to the federal tax laws are CHEAPER or tax payers than salary. Politicians take our money and endorsements the same way they take them from pro-life groups or big business. Nothing you have said shows how my contributions and efforts are any different than any other organization looking for resources or policy from the government. If you say you want money out of politics entirely that I can support but to say that only MY money is wrongfully employed in influencing politics is untenable and basically silly.

  17. The recall has been and will continue to be a grassroots movement of Wisconsin families deciding what their representation will be in the face of rightwing fanatics like the Koch brothers, and those who front for the fanatics like Scott Walker.

    Constituencies such as WEAC retain the right to officially endorse whom they wish. Whatever.

    We voters retain the right to vote for whom we choose, to the Republicans’ dismay and with determined efforts to stop Wisconsin citizens from voting.

    Not concerned about the endorsement race. We’ll vote for whom we choose.

  18. Paul, unions represent the special interests of 13% of the total workforce. I do not belong to the 13% nor the 1% you mention above, I am however among the 48% who pay taxes and am appalled that my taxes are being used by the unions to buy Democratic lawmakers
    Criminal and immoral

    1. kim, here’s a little known fact for you: EVERY SINGLE public employee is among the 48% you cited who pay taxes.

      Public employees pay taxes the same as everyone else, contrary to what you want to believe or assert.

Comments are closed.