It turns out that the Wisconsin state senators who fled the state during February’s budget impasse were on the same page with organized labor — literally.
A newspaper report Tuesday revealed that the AWOL Democrats had received written instructions from national union officials on how to justify their actions to the media.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel turned up emails that verified the union interaction with the AWOL Democrats, following a freedom of information request.
One email from big labor to the Wisconsin Democratic senators bore the subject line “TP,” for talking points.
The email came from an official at the national office of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME).
Blaine Rummel, a spokesman from the national office of AFSCME, sent the talking points to Mike Browne, who is spokesman for Wisconsin state Senate Minority Leader Mark Miller.
Among the tips organized labor offered to Wisconsin Democrats on what they should tell the media:
- “We’re on the job. The fact is, Wisconsin legislators are sworn to protect people’s rights, not take them away. And we are fulfilling our oath. Governor Walker and the Republicans were trying to ram a bill through in under a week that singled out Wisconsin’s nurses, teachers, EMT’s and other trusted public service providers to deny them their rights — the same rights enjoyed by just about every other American.”
- “The people of Wisconsin have spoken out loud and clear this week: denying people their rights is wrong, ramming it through the legislature with barely any deliberation, discussion or debate is wrong, and we aren’t about to let it happen.”
- “Even worse, stripping people of their rights have nothing to do with solving our budget challenges. These workers have said all along that they are ready to sit down and find reasonable solutions. Unfortunately, Gov. Walker is only interested in denying people their rights and crushing unions.”
- “We’re ready to come back to Madison when Republicans are ready to come to the table. The ball is in their court.”
News of national union involvement in the Wisconsin impasse will come as no surprise to Republican leaders. Walker’s supporters maintained throughout the stalemate that the protests that choked the Wisconsin state capitol were orchestrated by organized labor.
Mike McCabe, executive director of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, a nonpartisan watchdog, said the emails are a good example of the undue outside influence and special interests affecting both parties in Wisconsin.
“You’ve got elected officials who are more afraid of their cash constituents than their voting constituents,” McCabe tells Newsmax. “And it leads them to cater to those who provide all the money for campaigns, rather than focusing on serving their constituents, and representing the communities that they’re supposed to be representing. That’s a problem that cuts to the very core of the change in our political culture that’s occurred in this state.”
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