November 2010: Scott Walker is elected governor of Wisconsin. He captures 37 percent of the union household vote.
March 2011: Walker signs Act 10, severely restricting collective bargaining for public employees.
March 10, 2011: Washington Post – Unions and their allies say the showdown in Wisconsin has galvanized and energized a liberal base that had been in a state of deep malaise after the beating that Democrats took in last year’s elections. Walker is “winning the battle through pure, uncompromising force, but he’s losing the war,” said Democratic pollster Mark Mellman.
March 11, 2011: New York Times headline – “Democrats See Wisconsin Loss as Galvanizing” “This is one of the uglier examples of the tyranny of a temporary majority, and I think it’s going to backfire badly,” said Gov. Martin O’Malley of Maryland, the chairman of the Democratic Governors Association.
March 12, 2011: NEA Today headline – “‘This is the Beginning’ – Wisconsin Workers Still Galvanized” By signing his notorious budget repair bill into law on Friday, Gov. Scott Walker may have won a battle, but his political standing has taken a beating from which he most likely will not recover. Furthermore, the bill’s passage has done nothing to dampen the political activity that has engulfed Wisconsin over the past five weeks and in fact has united his opposition and even strengthened the hand of labor and working families everywhere.
March 2012: Recall of Walker and Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch is certified. “The time is now. If you aren’t mobilized and galvanized now, I don’t know when the time will be,” said Democratic Lt. Gov. nominee and president of the state firefighters union Mahlon Mitchell.
June 5, 2012: Walker defeats the recall, capturing 38 percent of the union household vote.
June 10, 2012: Wisconsin State Journal – Walker’s win means Republicans in other states will be emboldened to curtail legal union rights, but labor’s future in Wisconsin is far from dim, said Kate Bronfenbrenner, director of labor research at Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations. Despite the election setback, exit polls indicated 51 percent of voters favor public sector unions, and state union members appear to have been galvanized by the fight, Bronfenbrenner said.
September 22, 2014: Green Bay Press-Gazette headline – “National teachers’ union: beating Walker a top priority” AFSCME president Lee Saunders tells the Washington Post, “We have a score to settle with Scott Walker… We’ve lost 70% of our membership in the state. But let me tell you something: the members that remain are some of the most committed and dedicated members that we have all across this country.”
November 4, 2014: Walker wins reelection, capturing 34 percent of the union household vote.
November 4, 2014: Statement from Wisconsin Education Association Council president Betsy Kippers – “Today, we begin the next chapter of unionism in Wisconsin. Educators will be more engaged than ever before in shaping the future of public schools, and if state leaders turn their back on our students we’ll find different ways to advocate. We’ve shown over the last four years that we won’t back down – because children depend on us. This chapter features activism in each Wisconsin community, building on the grassroots energy that’s been planted and sown over the past four years.”