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Statement of LIUNA General President Terry O’Sullivan On the Wisconsin Recall Elections

LIUNA 6/11/2012
Contact: Richard Greer, 202-942-2262, 202-251-5347 or Statement of LIUNA General President Terry O’Sullivan On the Wisconsin Recall Elections

Washington, D.C. (June 11, 2012) – We commend Wisconsin Laborers' District Council Business Manager John Schmidt, the state’s local union leaders and the thousands of LIUNA brothers and sisters for helping to lead the fight to end Gov. Scott Walker’s war on working people and collective bargaining.

In the 18 months since Governor Walker began his war, the labor movement has mobilized like never before. Wisconsin unions have led the successful recalls of three state officials. They have returned control of the state Senate to a pro-worker majority, blocking future attacks. And the power of unions in the state has exposed the Governor as a puppet of corporate forces, which had to ante up more than $50 million to defend him.

Any fair-minded American would be disappointed that Governor Walker survived Tuesday’s recall election -- but it was merely one battle, not the war. From Wisconsin to Ohio to Indiana we have shown that elected officials who aim to destroy basic rights will pay a heavy cost. Our union and all unions have work to do, but these battles have strengthened our ability to defend the rights of workers.

Those waging a war on unions have unwittingly done us a favor. They have reminded us that freedom, equality and the basic right to unite as one cannot be taken for granted and are worth fighting for – and, in fact, are ideals that men and women have died for. Whether at the receiving end of a Pinkerton’s baton or Scott Walker’s pen, unions cannot be destroyed because America is not a nation that surrenders to Wall Street or corporate tyranny to become a country of haves and have-nots.

LIUNA in Wisconsin and in states throughout the country have demonstrated the true meaning of solidarity. The spirit and spark of the tens of thousands who took to the streets of Wisconsin, who canvassed for recall petition signatures and who turned out an unprecedented number of voters must light the flame that guides each of us to commit to fight harder, to win more battles and to keep our eye on the real prize – the war to improve the lives of LIUNA members and all working