AFL-CIO Czar’s Threats to Punish Pro-Right to Work Politicians in Indiana, Wisconsin Prove to Be Empty

Our State Government Victory

For nearly two years, union militants have waged a hate campaign against Badger State GOP Gov. Scott Walker and his allies at the capitol in Madison. But on Election Day, Big Labor signally failed to make good on its threats to punish legislators in Wisconsin and Indiana for passing laws curtailing union bosses' monopoly privileges. Photo: The Blaze (blog)

Nine-and-a-half months ago, on January 25, the Hoosier House of Representatives voted 54-44 to adopt H.B.1001, legislation making Indiana 23rd Right to Work state.  On February 1, the Indiana Senate, which had already passed another version of the Right to Work legislation, 28-22, approved H.B.1001 and sent it GOP Gov. Mitch Daniels’ desk.  Just a year earlier, Mr. Daniels had publicly opposed consideration of a state Right to Work law.  But in late 2011, heeding the pleas of thousands and thousands of Hoosiers who passionately oppose compulsory unionism, Mr. Daniels changed his stance and announced he was strongly in favor of making Indiana a Right to Work state.  He signed H.B.1001 as soon as he had the opportunity.

The term-limited governor could not seek reelection this year, and has accepted a job as the president of Purdue University that begins as soon as he leaves office.  Consequently, Big Labor has had little opportunity to retaliate against Mr. Daniels.  But Republican legislators who voted for Right to Work (not a single Democrat supported H.B.1001) are another story.

In a January 31 interview with the Munster-based Northwest Indiana Times, national AFL-CIO czar Richard Trumka bluntly threatened Hoosier legislators who had voted for Right to Work and other legislative and executive candidates who had been publicly supportive of the measure.

Mr. Trumka warned pro-Right to Work GOP gubernatorial candidate Mike Pence and others who had stood up to the union hierarchy that they “should expect heavy campaigning against them in the upcoming elections,” according to Times reporter Bowdeya Tweh.  The burly union boss continued, “They will pay a price at the polls.”

A few months later, Wisconsinites went to the polls in special June 5 “recall” elections orchestrated by Organized Labor.  In these elections, Richard Trumka and other union kingpins targeted GOP Badger State Gov. Scott Walker, Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, and three state senators for successfully supporting a measure abolishing forced union dues for teachers and many other public employees.  Known as Act 10 and adopted in early 2011, the measure also sharply limited the scope of government union monopoly bargaining.

Despite spending millions and millions of dollars, mostly forced dues and fees exacted from workers, in the recall elections, the union machine failed to unseat Mr. Walker, Ms. Kleefisch, and two of the three targeted senators.  However, since union bigwigs had already engineered the recalls of two pro-Act 10 senators in August 2011, this single victory was enough to switch partisan control of the state Senate to the Democrat Party.

On June 6, Mr. Trumka warned legislative Right to Work supporters in the Badger State and elsewhere that “the movement of Wisconsin people that forced this election in the first place, the movement that successfully recalled three Republican state senators, is not going to go away.”

But the fact is that the citizens of Indiana and Wisconsin and other states in the Midwest and around the country overwhelmingly  support Right to Work, and are strongly disinclined to punish politicians for curtailing union bosses’ monopoly privileges.  And this week, Mr. Trumka’s crusade against legislators in Indiana and Wisconsin who have voted for statutes reining in Big Labor’s unwarranted power came to a halt, at least for the time being, with a whimper, rather than a bang.

Today, blogger Bruce Walker discussed the underreported Indiana and Wisconsin state election results on the American Thinker web site (see the link above for more information):

Remember how Democrats in Wisconsin recaptured the Wisconsin State Senate in the recall a few months ago?  Well, Wisconsin Republicans gained three seats and control in the Wisconsin Senate while maintaining comfortably control of the Wisconsin House.  Indiana passed a right-to-work law after the 2010 election, and big labor threatened revenge.  What happened on Election Night 2012?  Republicans won an open governorship and gained a whopping ten seats in the Indiana State House of Representatives, maintaining comfortable control of both legislative chambers.

These Right to Work victories happened, many readers will recall, even as Big Labor was grabbing a U.S. Senate seat in Indiana and carrying battleground state Wisconsin for union-label President Barack Obama.

The mainstream media seem to have forgotten that top bosses of the AFL-CIO and other unions were promising to secure revenge on pro-Right to Work state executive and legislative candidates in Indiana and Wisconsin this month.  But the message should nevertheless be clear to elected officials in those and other states:  If you stand up to Big Labor and pass a statute protecting employees’ Right to Work and/0r rolling back union officials’ monopoly-bargaining privileges, voters will reward you for the effort.