Conservatives didn’t do well in Madison’s spring elections.
Here, as in much of the country, it is a brand that has been thoroughly trashed by extremist Republicans who are conservative in name only.
Many readers of this paper have traditionally defined themselves as conservative, believing that to “conserve” means to keep what you have.
Republican extremists have worked tirelessly over the last few decades to do the opposite, and have been increasingly effective at taking the Republican Party with them. Here are some examples:
Voting rights. Maybe you get to keep yours; maybe not. The roadblocks extremists are throwing in the way of voting go far beyond what the Wisconsin legislature just passed. In some luckless countries around the world, voters wait in line the entire day just to cast a ballot then can’t even be sure it will be counted. Kathy Nickolaus, who just resurfaced as the new clerk-treasurer for the Town of Waukesha, personally counted the ballots in Waukesha County for a decade, and Diebold voting machines may or may not come with vote totals pre-installed, but the extremists only seem to care about voter impersonation, which has yet to happen. True conservatives understand the danger of applying the heavy hand of government to your voting rights.
Local control. There’s not much that’s conservative about taking away the rights of people to control what goes on their own neighborhoods. When the Milwaukee County Board voted to provide a living wage of $11.33 an hour for people working with and for the county, the immediate response of the extremists in power in Madison was to hold legislative hearings to try to take it away. When people around proposed mining sites tried to make sure they could maintain clean water and a healthy environment, the legislature similarly intervened. The interests of the extremists are simply not those of ordinary citizens.
Health care. The number of Americans who have gained health insurance under President Obama is strikingly similar to the number who lost it under President Bush. George W. Bush is a politician who ran as a conservative (albeit a “compassionate” one), governed as a conservative, then was disowned by people who continue to call themselves conservatives. In Wisconsin, Governor Walker did all he could to make sure fewer people were covered under the new health care law. Maybe that could be construed as conservative if it saved money. It didn’t. His refusal to participate ensured that Wisconsin citizens would send their money to Washington but receive little of it back.
Jobs. The extremists remain unapologetic about their opposition to saving the auto companies during the Great Recession. Had they been in power nationally at the time, they would have cut loose millions of jobs. In Wisconsin we have an extremist governor who not only is clueless about how to create jobs, he’s unable to help us keep what we have. In the coming campaign, you will see many ads trying to obscure the fact that he is among the worst governors in the nation when it comes to jobs. Now he’s faced with the dubious choice of convincing people that he really isn’t completely inept or that his pledge to create jobs wasn’t really that important.
Public schools. After taking more than a billion dollars away from Wisconsin schools, forcing massive cuts in pay and benefits on school workers, and taking away teachers’ collective bargaining agreements, what else could these non-conservatives do? How about continuing to push for privatization, this time in the form of using special education students as pawns? How about continuing to let privateers like the Life Skills Academy take your tax dollars with virtually no state oversight? How about trying to anoint politicians to write school curriculum? Conservative? Seriously?
Secession. Republican extremists want Wisconsin to have the option to leave the United States of America. They are voting on it at their annual convention. Sadly, they have no clue how far out of step they are with both patriotic conservatives and liberals. But they are now in charge of a Republican party which once stood strong for this country.
Unions. If to conserve means to try to keep what you have, unions plead guilty. The failed attempt to organize workers at the Tennessee Volkswagen plant shows how far the extremists have moved. It was them versus the union AND the auto company. This time the extremists won.
The extremists didn’t win all of the battles they fought. The living wage ordinance that passed in Milwaukee was not overridden. Special education students will not be privatized. Wisconsin politicians will not be writing curriculum for your children. Not yet.
One politician who won’t be returning to office is Republican State Senator Dale Schultz. One of the main reasons Schultz chose not to run for re-election was that extremists recruited a high-profile, well-financed candidate to run against him. Schultz is a conservative. But he is not an extremist. The current Republican Party in Wisconsin has no room for people like him.
If they can replace him with one of their own, they may yet get to implement their wish list—and much more. But it’s not a conservative wish list.
(May 2014 Union Labor News)
South Central Federation of Labor Endorses Candidates in 6 Counties for April 2014 Elections
The South Central Federation of Labor (SCFL) Committee on Political Education and SCFL delegate body voted February 20th to endorse the following candidates for the April 2014 elections. These candidates were selected for their commitment to working families and a working family’s agenda.
For a complete list Click Here
South Central Federation of Labor Endorses Candidates for April 2014 Elections
The South Central Federation of Labor (SCFL) Committee on Political Education and SCFL delegate body voted January 23rd to endorse the following candidates for the April 2014 elections. These candidates were selected for their commitment to working families and working family’s agenda.
Dane County Supervisor
District 1 Mary Kolar
District 2 Heidi Wegleitner
District 3 Nick Zweifel
District 4 Kyle Richmond
District 5 Leland Pan
District 6 John Hendrick
District 7 Matt Veldran
District 8 Carousel Bayrd
District 10 Jeremy Levin
District 11 Al Matano
District 12 Paul Rusk
District 13 Chuck Erickson
District 14 George Gillis
District 16 Dave de Felice
District 17 Jeff Pertl
District 18 Michele Ritt
District 21 Andrew Schauer
District 22 Maureen McCarville
District 23 Sheila Stubbs
District 24 Robin Schmidt
District 25 Tim Kiefer
District 26 Sharon Corrigan
District 27 Dorothy Krause
District 28 Abigail Wuerst
District 30 Pat Downing
District 32 Pat McPartland
District 33 Jenni Dye
District 34 Patrick Miles
District 35 Carl Chenowith
Madison School Board
Seat 6 Michael Flores
District 4 Mike Bare
The South Central Federation of Labor (SCFL), AFL-CIO passed a resolution December 16th, calling on Wisconsin to shift away from military spending towards a more sustainable economy. SCFL includes 100 affiliated unions representing working families in south-central Wisconsin.
The resolution notes that “Wisconsin’s economy is highly dependent on military spending,” and that “Oshkosh Truck, which develops military trucks for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan … has laid off 1,200 workers in the past year due to a decrease in federal contracts.”
It supports the formation of a Futures Commission, similar to one established by Connecticut, to “help the state convert from defense spending to more sustainable job creation, such as construction, clean energy, rebuilding national infrastructure and transportation.”
SCFL President Kevin Gundlach said, “Upon my arrival in Madison over 20 years ago, one of my first jobs was working with the Nuclear Weapons Freeze Campaign. The issues were clear. It was time to cut wasteful military spending and start producing domestic products and create jobs. The campaign started locally and succeeded nationally.”
He added, “Today, we face yet again an economic system dependent on military spending that is unsustainable and has outlived its stated purpose. It’s time we start putting in place the steps for a fair and just transition to an economy that works for all working families, for our veterans, the elderly, differently abled and our children alike.”
SCFL’s resolution is the sixth to be passed in Wisconsin. Dane County and the city of Milwaukee previously passed Move the Money / War Dollars Home resolutions, along with the American Federation of Teachers – WI union, Madison Friends Meeting and Sisters of St. Francis of the Holy Cross in Green Bay. Nationally, more than 150 such resolutions have been passed by city councils, county boards and labor unions.
The Wisconsin Network for Peace and Justice (WNPJ) is supporting efforts across the state, to call attention to the bloated military budget and organize in support of a more sustainable, peace-time economy. WNPJ is a statewide coalition of nearly 150 member organizations, founded in 1991 to facilitate activities, cooperation and communication among Wisconsin organizations and individuals working toward the creation of a sustainable world, free from violence and injustice.
See resolution below (more…)
Want a SCFL Solidarity t-shirt and a Union Labor News subscription? Help us rename Governor Scott Walkers new book. All submissions will be voted on and the top three will get a t-shirt,ULN subscription and a mention in December’s Union Labor News.
Before you write a book, shouldn’t you at least have to read one? But then, how many words did current Wisconsin governor, Scott Walker, actually write in his book being released November 19? Former George W. Bush staffer Marc Theissen no doubt penned the bulk of Walker’s autobiographical fiction, but it’s doubtful he actually spent much time in Wisconsin. If he had, he might have noticed how stunningly inappropriate the title is for a governor so intimidated that he’s afraid to meet with opponents or hold public events.
Not only that, but a book written by and about the participants in the Solidarity Sing Along is being published at almost the same time. It carries the same title, Unintimidated, and truly deserves it.
So let’s see if we can help the governor by coming up with a new title that more accurately reflects his tenure.
You can submit your new title (and explanation if you wish) via Facebook or in the comments below. We will publish the best entries in our newspaper, Union Labor News, and award SCFL Solidarity tee shirts to the top three as determined by popular vote (so watch for that).
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Date: June 28th, 2013
Contact: Kevin Gundlach – President, South Central Federation of Labor
South Central Federation of Labor President statement on June 26th United States Supreme Court ruling on the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and California’s Prop 8.
Madison – South Central of Federation of Labor President Kevin Gundlach releases the following statement regarding the United States Supreme Court ruling on “Defense of Marriage Act” and California’s Prop 8.
“Wednesday’s historic decision by our Nation’s highest court to strike down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and to dismiss the Prop 8 case on a lack of standing reflects our communities desire to ensure fairness, equality, and justice to all people. Extending federal benefits to same sex couples ensures they are entitled to the same benefits heterosexual couples have enjoyed for decades.
Additionally, binational couple’s will now have the ability to apply for green cards for their spouses thus granting almost 36,000 couples a path to citizenship. This decision will provide binational families with the stability they deserve and will give them the ability to pursue their dreams without fear of separation.
While Wisconsin has yet to recognize same sex marriage, yesterday’s watershed decision is sure to inspire Wisconsinites to follow suit to ensure equality for all its citizens. South Central Federation of Labor will continue to organize locally to pursue the tenets of freedom, equality and justice.”
The South Central Federation of Labor is the local umbrella organization of labor unions and has close to 100 affiliates representing over 30,000 workers in South Central Wisconsin.
Listen to Lester Pines, Attorney for the plaintiffs in Madison Teachers Inc. v. Walker- Pines discusses the right of free speech, the right of association in the workplace and the pending case before the Wisconsin Supreme Court.
Sly and Lester discuss: “Will the GOP dominated Wisconsin State Supreme Court fairly judge the case given the right wing media/Walker and his political party/ ring of fire?” If not, what will be the fate of Unions in WI? Lester expects the case to be argued before the court in October, 2013.
On February 11th, 2011, teachers across this state received startling news. The Wisconsin State Journal headline read, “Walker to propose stripping collective bargaining rights from state workers.” Just a little more than two years later, daily headlines show signs of further turbulence. Governor Walker’s current budget proposal includes the expansion of taxpayer-funded, private school vouchers to several districts in Wisconsin including Madison. The scope of the latest attack is not limited to schools, but extends to every student, family, labor Union, and community. It is an attack on Wisconsin’s prosperity and well-being. (more…)