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Posted at 6:38 AM ET, 02/22/2011

First look: Unions launch TV ad campaign backing Wisconsin public employees

By Greg Sargent

Upping the stakes in the Wisconsin battle, unions are going up in the air in the state with the first ad on the standoff, hammering Governor Scott Walker for refusing to drop his assault on public employee bargaining rights.

Here's a first look at the statewide spot, which features Racine firefighter Mike DeGarmo proclaiming solidarity between firefighters (who, like cops, are exempt from Walker's proposal) and other public employees. He points out that public employees have already agreed to the wage and benefit reductions Walker has demanded, and are simply asking him not to roll back their bargaining rights, which he has refused to do:

The ad was created by advisers to the national AFL-CIO, SEIU, and AFSCME, all of whom have entered the fight, and it was paid for by the Wisconsin AFL-CIO. A spokesman for the national AFL-CIO, Eddie Vale, says it's supported by a "significant statewide buy."

The script:

"When our crew is face to face with a fire, we stand together, or we fall together. It's that simple. Now nurses, teachers and other public employees have come together to stand up for Wisconsin workers. Governor Walker, public employees have agreed to the cuts you asked for. And now they're simply asking that you not take away their rights. We stand together, or we fall together. And we're asking the people of Wisconsin to stand with us."

AFL spokesman Vale emails: "People who work for a living will never keep up with the Koch brothers and what corporate CEOs plan to spend, but the students, teachers, firefighters, cops, activists and everyday citizens who are showing up day after day want to make sure their voices are heard."

The ad is intended as a pointed rebuke to Governor Walker's apparent effort to divide public workers by exempting those more favorable to Republicans while targeting those who tend to support Democrats. It's another mark that national unions are all-in on this fight, and that they view Wisconsin as ground zero in the war over the future of all of organized labor. In that sense, the ad's closing line -- "we stand together, or we fall together" -- is freighted with more meaning than it first appears.

UPDATE, 8:48 a.m.: I should note that this ad is part of the joint labor effort that also includes the National Education Association, the American Federation of Teachers, and other unions.

By Greg Sargent  | February 22, 2011; 6:38 AM ET
Categories:  Labor  
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Subtracted we stand, divided we fall.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 22, 2011 6:57 AM | Report abuse

Sorry but the ad is weak.

The conditions that gave rise to unions are all but forgotten and opinions of them are based on impressions and emotionalism. Conservatives will do nationally what their proxies do right here in this blog ., division and distraction. We'll hear about enviable wages and vacations and privileged "union bosses."

The best way ti fight this is with Dust Bowl type imagery .. place labor organization into its historical context. Black and white stills of hollow-eyed children hauling sewage and families in breadlines.

Truth is, as always, against the Conservatives.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 22, 2011 7:09 AM | Report abuse


The Bros Koch get the full-court press treatment today...NYTimes, Andy Stern, Trumka, and the Journolistas sheeplike in train.

Basically they're selling two things:

The people of Wisconsin succumbed to a JediOligarch mind trick in the form of a $40K political contribution.

Or--Occam's Razor?--the people of Wisconsin are stupid (aka: voting contra their "interests").

That is surely going to win the day!

{{{in 1996 perhaps}}}

Posted by: tao9 | February 22, 2011 7:14 AM | Report abuse

Looks like the union, labor riots in Wisconsin are a wacky, liberal, bizarro version of the TEA PARTY protests.

TEA PARTY demonstrates for less government spending and UNION LABOR demonstrates for more, more, more spending on themselves.

As state after state teeters on the edge of bankruptcy, we must stay tuned as the political scenario unfolds.

I think the more, more, more crowd is in for a rude awakening.

Posted by: battleground51 | February 22, 2011 7:33 AM | Report abuse

Looks like the union, labor riots in Wisconsin are a wacky, liberal, bizarro version of the TEA PARTY protests.


A true gem from our resident wall-puncher.

Union labor riots?

Posted by: caothien9 | February 22, 2011 7:45 AM | Report abuse

Wow Sarah Palin sure is aging fast now.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 22, 2011 7:47 AM | Report abuse

Unions are still very much needed:
Last week in Missouri a bill was introduced to repeal the child labor laws and the oversight by government inspectors to inspect workplaces where children work, the bill also wants to make it so no employer has to keep records on children who work in their businesses.
In Nevada a bill was introduced to remove the minimum wage law.
In Walker budget, there is a provision that would allow the state to sell off it's utility companies to private interests with no-bid contracts and no oversight.

Posted by: Bowedoak | February 22, 2011 7:52 AM | Report abuse

One of the great weaknesses of the LABOR UNIONS is that they are 100%, deep-blue Democrat. They all march in lock-step to any tune the Democratic party plays.

The labor unions have all their golden eggs in one old basket.

When the bottom of that basket breaks, the union people suffer because they have made themselves the natural enemies of the Republican party.

If labor unions were non-partisan, as they should be, and worked to get inside the Republican party, they could minimize their pain when the Democrats fall out of power, which is most of the time.

Tying your fortunes to the hapless, Democrat party is very UNwise, these days. Especially with the likes of Obama, Reid, and Pelosi in charge.

Posted by: battleground51 | February 22, 2011 7:52 AM | Report abuse

Another of the great weaknesses of the LABOR UNIONS is their insistance on protecting the lazy, lame, and incompetent workers of America. I have witnessed this happen. The laziest, most loud-mouthed layabouts get the most attention from the union bosses while the workers who just want to do a good job and keep quiet about it get ignored.

Same goes for the incompetents. Incompetent workers are not worth protecting and they make the whole union thing look ridiculous.

It looks like unions do not care about quality at all. They just want numbers and reliable Democrat voters.

All the while, the Japanese, Koreans, and Chinese are beating the crap out of us because they insist on excellent quality and energetic workers.

American industry must start replacing the sqeaky wheels instead of oiling them up to keep them quiet.

Posted by: battleground51 | February 22, 2011 8:08 AM | Report abuse

Uh the point of the article above is that some of the unions supported Walker and were made exempt from the bill, but even they are against having their rights stripped from them.

Reading comprehension issues, Battle?

The unions clearly don't always just support Dems, but in Wisconsin at least, they do now. "Hosni" Walker has united the unions and has awoken the liberal base.

I'm ordering a pizza for the peaceful protestors today!

Posted by: Alex3 | February 22, 2011 8:18 AM | Report abuse

Another BIG weakness of the labor unions is their nods and winks at the Democrats' aiding and abetting of the massive influx of outlaw "immigrants" and the big promises of AMNESTY to same. It plays right into the union buster' hands.

American labor unions ought to be 100% for STRICT enforcement of all immigration laws and against any promises to the illegals that would encourage the illegals to stay in the United States.

Remember, there are many unscrupulous Republicans that want the illegals to stay here too so they will not have to deal with American unions.

They are despicable.

Posted by: battleground51 | February 22, 2011 8:23 AM | Report abuse

@cao: "The best way ti fight this is with Dust Bowl type imagery .. place labor organization into its historical context. Black and white stills of hollow-eyed children hauling sewage and families in breadlines."

That would be awesome.

You seriously think that would connect with anybody other than they already faithful? And that not even some of them might find the high-handed nature of the message a little off-putting?

That's also not the root of public sector unions, which FDR opposed and got no traction until JFK signed the law in '62.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | February 22, 2011 8:32 AM | Report abuse

To Alex the 3rd;

Perfect example of what I have stated.

It seems there are some unions that have not burned all their bridges to the Republican party and now they are benefitting from that WISE move.

Most unions have not been so wise. Teachers, for example and bureaucrats, in general.

Deeeeeeeeeep-blue Democrats. Just like 90% of American, media chatterboxes.

They despise all things Republican and are shocked!......shocked!! when they get the same, in return.

Who said liberals are so smart???


Posted by: battleground51 | February 22, 2011 8:34 AM | Report abuse

Only a liberal can turn truth into a subjective doctrine. Must be the inherent value of a degree in liberal arts.
Math majors know the simple truth: the benefits, pensions and work rules garnered via the existing public employee union- elected representative system are finically unsustainable and the foreseeable byproduct of a corrupt system.
Public employee unions can effectively pick their own bosses and then deal with them on their benefits. The system is rigged and has to go.

Posted by: Mebakdr | February 22, 2011 8:36 AM | Report abuse

as a retired teamster i can tell you that politics and unions do not belong in the same bed,when the unions can start throwing money at a politician,and the politicians take the money any sense of democracy and fairness is out of the equation.a lot of union pensioners are going to lose their pensions,the time for freebies is over,and the faster these union members understand that they have been taken for a ride,both by their executive board and the politicians, the faster this mess will be straightened out.

Posted by: SISSD1 | February 22, 2011 8:40 AM | Report abuse

All, Morning Roundup posted:

Posted by: Greg Sargent | February 22, 2011 8:45 AM | Report abuse

Funny all these first time posters who claim to be union.

Not buying it.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 22, 2011 8:51 AM | Report abuse

The Dust Bowl had no impact on the nation for many years; it took a massive Storm that Filled the Air of Washington and Eastern States with Dirt and covering everything before anyone got interested in their plight.

No American Worker gets a fair Shake from the Corporate News Media all of whom have produced more Anti-union Propaganda than not.

It's been happening over the past 30+ years.
When you tell a lie long enough; people believe it!

Posted by: ddoiron1 | February 22, 2011 9:08 AM | Report abuse

"place labor organization into its historical context."

FDR opposed public employee unions, which did not gain traction until 1962. Dust Bowl indeed.

Posted by: clawrence12 | February 22, 2011 9:13 AM | Report abuse

FDR did say he wished Public Employees shouldn't organize. But he Didn't Forbid it!
He also "Hated War"!

George Washington Spoke against Political Parties. Political Parties are more for themselves than the Nation. He was Right! Look at the Mess we are in today because of them.

Posted by: ddoiron1 | February 22, 2011 9:26 AM | Report abuse

"place labor organization into its historical context."

FDR opposed public employee unions, which did not gain traction until 1962. Dust Bowl indeed.


Come up with your own irrelevant facts you brainless twit

Posted by: caothien9 | February 22, 2011 9:30 AM | Report abuse

@bow: "In Nevada a bill was introduced to remove the minimum wage law."

For Nevada. Everyone there would still be subject to the national minimum wage. Which is identical, if the employer provides insurance, as far as I can tell.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | February 22, 2011 9:45 AM | Report abuse

@ddo: ""FDR did say he wished Public Employees shouldn't organize. But he Didn't Forbid it!""

It was already illegal, thus already forbidden. So, yeah, technically, he kinda did.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | February 22, 2011 9:49 AM | Report abuse

ddoiron1, at least we are talking about public employee unions in this thread, not political parties.

Posted by: clawrence12 | February 22, 2011 9:49 AM | Report abuse

Kevin_Willis, when confronted with the actual facts, he suddenly thinks that "historical context" is irrelevant. I just wish he would use your Troll Hunter program with some consistency.

Posted by: clawrence12 | February 22, 2011 9:58 AM | Report abuse

What's happening in Wisconsin is just a further move in the GOP's battle to destroy the middle class and shift that wealth to the already wealthy.

Posted by: tinyjab40 | February 22, 2011 10:30 AM | Report abuse

This simple union-busting. Check the facts people, the public employees in Wisconsin don't make lavish salaries or enjoy lavish benefits. Who does make ridiculous money are the very ones who caused the financial crisis we're currently reeling in. Think what you want of unions, but don't make up the facts to support your argument.

Posted by: chris65 | February 22, 2011 10:38 AM | Report abuse

This will have no influence on Walker or the Republicans in the legislature. They're bought and paid for, and they'll deliver the goods they promised their owners, the Koch Brothers, at their earliest opportunity.

Posted by: fishellb | February 22, 2011 10:44 AM | Report abuse

I would tell unions that it would be wise to distance yourself from Democrats and politics in general. First govt employees have no business being union. Taxpayers are the "boss" and the most effective use of resources doesn't involve a union. Second the last two election cycles have cast unions in very bad positions. I would encourage any "real" unions (UAW, UMW etc) to stay out of politics.

That commercial is a joke. Heed my warning police and firemen. You have great support from the public but one misstep and you will lose it.

Posted by: Desertdiva1 | February 22, 2011 11:08 AM | Report abuse

Gee frame the discussion as

"...Governor Scott Walker...assault on public employee bargaining rights."

Where did I hear that word "assault" before. Oh I remember. It was the exact word President Obama used.

I guess Greg isn't even trying to hide the clear fact that he is printing DNC talking points.

How about the assault by the unions on the american taxpayer Greg? Think that may have happened over the past 40 years.

Liberalism is in it's death spasms. Keep up the pressure.

Posted by: manbearpig4 | February 22, 2011 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Battleground51 seems to be saying that you union folk need to wise up! Play ball. What the unions should be insisting on is that the Koch brothers get their no-bid rights to purchase utilities from their lap dog Walker. That is part of the union-busting budget, and it will mean multiple millions for the brothers to purchase public assets for pennies on the dollar. Get on board with using cheap pols to jam it to the average tax-payer in the service of the money men, then they might get some alms from the Kochs. Otherwise, no soup for you!

Posted by: whereareweandwhatarewedoinginthishandbasket | February 22, 2011 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Why is Trumka, AFL-CIO union head thug, at the White House 2-3 times per week, and on the phone with the administration daily (this, according to Trumka's own words on video)......Why?

Democrats – Progressives = clenched fists, hysteria, chaos, threats, hate speech, intimidation, and violence. The end justifies the means. Is this their idea of “adult conversation and civility”?

Obama’s goons, mob bosses, union thugs…..Alinsky-style “rubbing raw the sores of discontent”…..whipping up the “useful idiots” – bussing people in to fill the streets with rage. Mobs, Unions, Obama’s political arm (Organizing For America/OFA)…..

The American Taxpayer has had enough. No more.

Posted by: StopGovtBondage | February 22, 2011 12:04 PM | Report abuse

Walker (et al) has perpetrated one of the most ingenious red herrings of all time. While the nation concentrates on the collective bargaining issue, the eventual ability of the Koch bros. to buy Wisconsin utilities for pennies on the dollar via no-bid contracts under the new legislation will become a reality. The financial relationship between the Kochs and Walker, as well as the newly proposed no-bid utilities contracts are matters of public record for all to check.

Posted by: polysciprof | February 22, 2011 12:15 PM | Report abuse

The union has agreed to make the healthcare and pension contributions stipulated by the law. This isn't an dispute about money (as Gov. Walker asserts), it's about union-busting. It's about taking away workers rights to collectively bargain, and taking away a source of political support for Democrats.

Political thuggery this is.

Posted by: paul6554 | February 22, 2011 12:21 PM | Report abuse

No amount of union-sponsored (with ARRA/stimulus funds) or administration-sponsored propaganda, (covert propaganda, or otherwise) will sway American citizens to favor the looting of federal and state treasuries by greed-frenzied union thugs.

Fiscal conservatism IS the norm and the standard, now, when it comes to citizens' expectation of government. Citizens will not buy into policies that lead us to national bankruptcy that irresponsible, incestuous union/democrats are trying to shove down our throats.

Posted by: ecartr5 | February 22, 2011 12:24 PM | Report abuse

When union leaders "negotiate" with Democrat politicians, the only subject where there is give and take is the subject of political contributions. In such "negotiations," who represents the taxpayers' interests? Neither unions or democrats.

Therefore, citizens stand up for their rights against redistributionist, corrupt larceny of unions and democrats. Public sector employees don't need unions. Public sector union contributions to politicians of any kind should be treated as felonies to be prosecuted.

Posted by: ecartr5 | February 22, 2011 12:29 PM | Report abuse

The dems are more be holding to the unions in WI. The dems need the money and man power the unions offer, in return union get great benefits from the dems during negotiations, because it's not the dems money they are giving away it is the common peoples money. No one can say that the dems and the unions aren't in bed together, just look at the buses coming into the state by the unions.

Posted by: tateofpa | February 22, 2011 12:47 PM | Report abuse

The dems are more be holding to the unions in WI. The dems need the money and man power the unions offer, in return union get great benefits from the dems during negotiations, because it's not the dems money they are giving away it is the common peoples money. No one can say that the dems and the unions aren't in bed together, just look at the buses coming into the state by the unions. The dem run away so they don't have to make the tough choice, vote for the people of voter for their union masters.

Posted by: tateofpa | February 22, 2011 12:49 PM | Report abuse

perhaps events in Wisconsin will finally wake up the citizenry to the fact that "rights" guaranteed by law are only as viable as the power of the citizenry to protect those laws from abrogation.

To paraphrase A. Philp Randolph, workers get what they are powerful enough to take and keep what they are strong enough to hold onto.

Today's public sector workers enjoy what workers were powerful enough to take fifty years ago and the strength of today's public sector workers is now being tested to see what they can hold onto.

Public sector workers are the last bastion of Democratic political power and most of their work can't be off-shored.

Which explains why the Republican Tea Bag leadership triumvirate of Koch, Norquist and Limbaugh will not rest until this last remaining power center in opposition to their world view is diminished if not destroyed.

The Supreme Court's true intention in throwing open corporations ability to spend without oversight or limit on anything political is now beyond dispute.

If the AFL's only long term strategy is an "air" war it is only a matter of time until they spend themselves into absolute penury and powerlessness.

Boots on the ground is the strategy upon which organized labors once credible power base was built and until it is restored they will continue their slide into irrelevance.

Given what passes for leadership and a brain trust at the AFL and most international union headquarters there isn't much cause for optimism.

Posted by: toconn2 | February 22, 2011 12:49 PM | Report abuse

Sure - keep reminding the public sector how you waste union dues in a political battle. Here's a thought - let each employee decide for one self..and you know what - I bet your ranks would plummet in a nano-second.

If the union and its dues are so so good - do it....I mean so many more would join - right? Nope - and you know it!

Posted by: short1 | February 22, 2011 1:29 PM | Report abuse

People say unions are obsolete, that they were needed once, but no more, because NOW, we have labor laws.
I would ask, what is the basis of what is happening in Wisconsin if it is not Republicans rolling back labor law? Do you honestly believe that, without strong opposition from labor, other laws will not be in similar danger?
Do you have to lose your own wages/benefits before you can see a problem? Does anyone honestly believe that any employer will pay you more, if they can get away with paying you less? Henry Ford was the last boss like that I ever heard of, and his peers condemned him for it.

Posted by: OldUncleTom | February 22, 2011 3:23 PM | Report abuse

Easy to counter. Roll camera. Pick a state agency. List the salary and benefit package of every worker, starting with the most well-compensated.

Better yet, do the same for retirees. Again, starting at the top, list the age each retired and detail what they receive in pension pay and benefits annually.

Posted by: EnvironMental | February 22, 2011 4:34 PM | Report abuse

I belive in compromise in any labor agreement as a Teamster local 463 in (Pennsylvania), but as far as trying to strip the state employees of their collective bargaining rights is downright communistic and I never heard the good governor asking his fellow polkiticians in the state house or senate to take a 10 to 15% paycuts through paying towards their pension and healthcare, as he is asking the rest of the state employees, nor is he taking a substantial paycut or in his benefits to help offset his states budget deficit. I say this another hypocritical politician.

Posted by: PinkFloydRick70 | February 22, 2011 8:33 PM | Report abuse

Unions outlived their usefulness LONG AGO. At this point, unions are a MALIGNANT CANCER that is destroying our education, our companies, our jobs, our economy, our freedoms and our country.

Unions claim to help workers, but they force companies to move to other states or other countries, leaving millions of workers UNEMPLOYED.

The only ones benefitting from the unions at this point are the COMMUNISTS MILLIONAIRE UNION BOSSES and their comrades, including the COMMUNIST in the White House.

Posted by: AntonioSosa | February 22, 2011 11:38 PM | Report abuse

Union thugs working with Obama’s Organizing for America thugs to force the people of Wisconsin into submission demonstrate that the Democrat party has become an anti-U.S. organized crime machine.

Funded by union bosses and U.S. enemies, the Democrat organized crime machine bused Obama’s Organizing for America thugs to Wisconsin to blackmail and intimidate the people of Wisconsin.

The Democrat organized crime machine controls much of the media and uses its armies of paid thugs to manipulate and coerce people into voting for Democrats, supporting Marxist scams like Obamacare, and busting budgets and destroying economies as they are doing in Wisconsin.

Through lies, manipulation, intimidation, coercion and fraud, the Democrat organized crime machine had a U.S. hating Marxist like Obama “elected” as U.S. president.

We pray that the good people of Wisconsin are able defend themselves from the Democrat organized crime machine, which is being used to destroy the U.S.

Posted by: AntonioSosa | February 22, 2011 11:43 PM | Report abuse

Unions are just a relic from the past.

Posted by: timej31 | February 25, 2011 11:16 AM | Report abuse

The Wisconsin legislation contains wage caps: public employee raises must always be less than inflation.

This is wage control. No wonder the "conservatives" here are so incoherent and vituperative in defending it....

Posted by: Subnumine | February 26, 2011 5:52 PM | Report abuse

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