AFT members in Wisconsin played a big role in helping collect 1 million signatures supporting a recall election for Gov. Scott Walker. Only 540,208 signatures were required, so the petitions submitted on Jan. 17 were an impressive feat. By comparison, Walker received 1.1 million votes in his 2010 election.
The recall effort was prompted by Walker's aggressive anti-worker policies, including his push last year to abolish the collective bargaining rights of public employees. What's more, a recent report shows that his policies have led to extensive job losses in the state.
Stephanie Bloomingdale, secretary-treasurer of the Wisconsin State AFL-CIO, applauded union and community members who had gathered signatures everywhere from union halls to grocery stores to bowling alleys—in middle of winter, no less. Members of AFT-Wisconsin and the Wisconsin Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals, and their affiliates, were among the most active signature gatherers, as they were during last year's recall elections aimed at anti-union state legislators.
The petitions that were submitted don't just target Gov. Walker. Enough signatures also were submitted to the state's Government Accountability Board to force a recall election of Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, who was instrumental in pushing Walker's agenda in the Legislature, as well as Lieutenant Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch and three other Republican state senators. [AFL-CIO Now]
January 19, 2012