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The Races: Wisconsin

Wisconsin IBEW Stands Up for Pro-Worker Lawmakers

With the Wisconsin unemployment rate nearing 8 percent, Milwaukee Local 2150 member Mike Haak says he understands the frustration members feel. But when members tell him that they plan to take out their frustration at the ballot box, he advises them to think twice.

Says the We Energies lineman technician:

A lot of candidates in Wisconsin are running on a throw-the-bums out platform, riding the bad economy and hoping people don’t read the fine print or ask too many questions. But when you read what some of these candidates actually stand for, it’s nothing but the old big business, Wall Street agenda. We had eight years of that under Bush and we don’t need any more of it.

Right: Union activists hit the plant gates to encourage union members to vote for pro-worker lawmakers. From left to right, Guy LePage, Stevens Point Local 388; Terry Roovers, Appleton Local 577; Mark Linsmeier and Paul Abrego, Laborers Local 330.

As registrar for Local 2150, Haak says he is supporting Sen. Russ Feingold, who is running against Oshkosh millionaire Ron Johnson.

Haak says that Feingold has been a champion of working families for years, supporting policies that create American jobs and uphold workers’ rights.

Feingold has a nearly 100 percent pro-labor voting record. He’s always stood by working Wisconsinites.

Wisconsin State AFL-CIO executive vice president Sara Rogers says Johnson has made it clear that he doesn’t support the needs of working families.

Johnson has made keeping his plastics company nonunion a priority and supports tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas. He even admitted during a radio interview that China – with its low wages, minimal safety standards and repressive labor laws – has a better business climate than the United States. 

Says Haak:

Johnson is not the kind of change Wisconsin needs. There isn’t a trade agreement this guy hasn’t supported.

The IBEW is also campaigning for worker-friendly candidatesReps. Tammy Baldwin, Ron Kind, Steven Kagen and Gwen Moore. It is also backing state Sen. Julie Lassa in her campaign for Congress.

Haak says the labor movement is also getting behind Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett for governor.

Barrett’s opponent, Scott Walker, has targeted state workers in his ads, calling for slashing their wages and benefits.

Says Haak:

Walker is using workers as the scapegoat for the crimes of Wall Street. Barrett wants to bring up the living standard for everyone, not knock it down.



Photo used under a creative commons license from Flickr user WIAFLCIO.







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