Sturdy confirmation of the value of the UTU Collective Bargaining Defense Fund emerged from a Wisconsin vote tally this second week of July – the second of three heats in a race to unseat anti-labor senators in special recall elections.
Wisconsin voters, awakened to and energized against anti-labor efforts of political extremists in their state legislature, cast majority ballots for labor-friendly candidates in primary elections.
The primaries were in advance of Aug. 9 special elections to recall state senators who earlier this year voted to strip Wisconsin public employees of their collective bargaining rights.
As Wisconsin has an open primary and no party registration, the labor-friendly candidates (all Democrats) found themselves pitted against Republican political extremists who entered the Democratic primaries as sham Democrats. They had hoped to win the primaries and assure either their own victory or victory for the incumbents they would face when the recall elections are held Aug. 9. The sham tactics failed.
Indeed, Wisconsin voters knew the difference between the real labor-friendly candidates and the sham candidates because of shoe-leather exertions by union members in Wisconsin. They knocked on doors, handed out educational materials and urged voters to go to the polls. Those successful efforts – as well as the earlier successful petition drive to force the recall elections — were supported by the UTU Collective Bargaining Defense Fund.
Legislative attacks on organized labor in Wisconsin – duplicated in Ohio, where organized labor’s counter offensive also is proving successful – is part of a more expansive effort among political extremists nationwide to destroy organized labor, fold Railroad Retirement into Social Security, privatize Social Security and Medicare, eliminate Amtrak and starve other public transit operations of funds.
The UTU’s political consultant, Dean Mitchell, said, “The UTU Collective Bargaining Defense Fund made a difference by working with the Wisconsin AFL-CIO on member-to-member communication. UTU members in Wisconsin were contacted through phone calls and special mailings, urging them to vote in the Wisconsin primary. UTU International President Mike Futhey also hosted a town hall meeting via telephone with UTU active and retired members in Wisconsin.
Mitchell has been coordinating a multi-state effort among UTU legislative directors to educate voters to the threat posed by political extremists and to energize UTU members and retirees and their families to be politically active.
That communication effort will be duplicated in advance of the Wisconsin recall elections Aug. 9.
In Ohio, the UTU Collective Bargaining Defense Fund helped to fuel a petition drive that put that state’s anti-labor legislation on hold pending a voter referendum in November. The fund is also assisting with efforts in other states to block anti-labor efforts advanced by political extremists.
Activities fueled by the UTU Collective Bargaining Defense Fund have spawned media attention, which in turn helps to educate large numbers of middle-class voters to the anti-labor agenda of political extremists.
As evidenced in the Wisconsin primaries, voters are expressing anger with the attacks on organized labor even though many have never belonged to a labor union. They recognize that today’s attacks on labor unions are a prelude to a future attack on the middle class in America.
To learn more about the UTU Collective Bargaining Defense Fund, and how to contribute, click on the following link: