Unions suffer crushing blow in Walker’s recall victory: “This is nothing less than a calamity for them”

Posted by on Jun 06, 2012 at 7:31 am

Organized labor suffered a crushing blow with Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s (R) victory in Tuesday’s recall, a possible sign of their fading power and a worrying result for union supporters ahead of November’s election.

“They picked a fight they weren’t able to win,” said Gary Chaison, a labor expert at Clark University. “This shows them at their weakest. They’ll try to put a happy face on this but this is nothing less than a calamity for them.”

Unions combined to spend more than $10 million on the race and were the driving force behind the recall effort. But even in Wisconsin, long a bastion for organized labor and the birthplace of public employee unions, they couldn’t defeat a governor whose defining achievement was stripping public workers of their collective bargaining rights.

The fight to recall Walker was the biggest battle labor has waged in years — and to their credit, Democratic turnout was sky-high Tuesday. But Republicans managed to outpace them, aided by nearly $30 million spent by Walker.

Democrats and unions were outspent by a two to one margin by the governor and his allies in the race, the most expensive in Wisconsin history.

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