Talking Points Memo: Milwaukee Labor Leader: Union To ‘Redirect’ Efforts To Recalls — And No Talk Of Strikes

March 14, 2011- A public employee union leader in Wisconsin has declared that organized labor will dedicate its efforts to recalling state Senate Republicans this year, and recalling Gov. Walker next year, in response to Walker's newly-passed bill curtailing public employee unions. He says they are not talking about strikes.

Rich Abelson, executive director of AFSCME Council 48 in Milwaukee, appeared Friday on the local public affairs show UpFront with Mike Gousha, with guest host Kent Wainscott.

"Obviously this was a very disappointing loss for us, with regards to the collective bargaining changes that were made. However, it's not the end of our fight," said Abelson. "We have — we're a union. What we do is we represent workers at the workplace, give them a voice, and we will continue to do so. It is our mission, it is what we believe, it is who we are.

"And now it's time to redirect those efforts, it is time to take back the Wisconsin Senate. We are very much engaged in the recall efforts that are taking place with the eight Republican senators. We think a significant number of those are gonna be successful recalls, we think by summer we will have changed the face of the Wisconsin Senate."

Abelson acknowledged that rolling back the law would be "a much longer term struggle" than just winning the state Senate for the Democrats, as Republicans would still control the Assembly and the governor's mansion.


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