Saturday, June 9, 2012

AFL-CIO chief on Walker victory spin and silver linings



AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka at a press conference crows that Walker's 50 million expenditures did not sway union voters. He also points out the one positive outcome for labor that the Republicans lost control of the State Senate. However, his point about union members not being swayed is certainly a positive spin on dismal statistics.

Trumka notes that Walker outspent the Barrett forces by seven to one. He also remarks that an election night poll showed that union members overall supported the recall by 75 per cent to 25 per cent. However exit polls showed the split was 70 to 30 per cent. Even if you take the Trumka statistic it seems hardly a victory that one quarter of one's own supporters support ones opponent!

But Walker leaves out another important figure from exit polls. The breakdown in exit polls for other members of union households was about 50 to 50. This shows that Barret was not that popular even among people that one would think would be strong supporters.

As well as the wealth of Koch and others a factor in the defeat of Barrett is simply the unpopularity of unions. Also many simply felt that Walker should only have been recalled as a result of some serious misdemeanor. However attacking workers rights and benefits is seen as simply fair enough by many who envy the position of union members and see themselves as beleaguered taxpayers. They are not fazed by reducing the deficit by attacks on fellow workers. That is the American way it seems. For more see this article.

Another factor that Trumka does not mention is that Obama did not campaign for Barrett nor did the Democratic National office provide needed extra funds. As Trumka mentions Walker got plenty of high profile outside help but there seems to have been no equal parallel effort from the Democratic side.

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