Union Leaders Fail in Efforts to Tone Down Rhetoric

Dec. 14, 2010 | 11:15 am MacIver Institute MacIver News MacIver Perspectives

At 10am today, Wisconsin’s government union leaders tried to hold a Capitol press conference (albeit with no questions) to show the human face of state workers. Before the event began, they let the assembled onlookers know there would be no finger pointing, no name calling, just workers making the case for their contracts.

They assembled more than a half dozen ‘real people’ to talk about the jobs they do and why the contracts should be approved. The unions recognize they need to distance themselves from the incindiary rhetoric of WSEU Executive Director Mary Beil who in recent days compared Governor-elect Scott Walker to a planatation owner and government union workers to slaves. So they brought out plumbers, teaching assistants and others to make a pitch for lame-duck ratification of the pending labor accords.

Again, no questions were allowed. When the event broke up, however, WSEU’s Marty Beil couldn’t help himself. Holding court with a gaggle of reporters in the back of the Assembly Parlor minutes after the press conference disbanded, Beil let loose. Again.

He dismissed Walker’s efforts to obtain better deals for taxpayers as political posturing, and that he’s not really concerned abut the state of Wisconsin’s budget. He then threw out this smack about the Governor-elect, alluding to Chris Christie, the Republican Governor of New Jersey:

“All Walker wants to do is appear on Fox and Friends in the morning with his buddy from New Jersey and a couple other right wing whackos.”

When asked about his thoughts regarding Walker’s suggestion that the State may want to reconsider the laws that allow government workers to collectively bargain, Beil was defiant.

“Bring it on!” he said. ‘If he wants labor unrest, labor disharmony, bring it on.”

He continued, “When you push a person to the corner and there’s no escape, people tend to push back.”

Ironically, that’s exactly how many taxpayers feel after years of the growth of government.

By Brian Fraley
MacIver Institute