The Bad News for Labor from Wisconsin

The defeat of the effort to recall Scott Walker from his post as governor of Wisconsin is less of a victory for the Republican Party, or even a defeat for the Democratic Party, as it is a defeat for the labor movement. Walker, after all, has been a particular anathema to organized labor as his radical anti-union policies have drawn attention and opposition from labor unions and their supporters across the country. For progressives, recalling Walker would have been a major victory, but for labor, the stakes were even higher.

The Fight in Wisconsin

In some respects, the biggest surprise about Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker's efforts to take away public employee unions' right to bargain collectively is why it took so long. Public employee unions are an understandably irresistible target to right wing Republicans. Public employee unions work for the government which, in Republican minds, is already one strike against them. They also reflect efforts by ordinary people to succeed not through feats of individualism, but through working together and cooperating, which, inevitably, feels too close to socialism for most Republicans. Lastly, in many places, although not Wisconsin, public employee unions are heavily non-weight, so consist of people that would be unlikely to vote for the Republican Party anyway.