Mention in Illinois the names of the anti-union governors of Indiana and Wisconsin – Scott Walker and Mitch Daniels – and, well, just start watching, listening and counting.

When the Wisconsin and Indiana governors separately ventured into Illinois April 17 and 19 for pre-arranged speaking engagements in Springfield (Walker to business leaders) and Champaign (Daniels to Republican leaders) almost 10,000 union members and supporters in total at both locations showed up to demonstrate their displeasure.
They unfurled union banners, set up 20-foot inflatable rats and displayed signs proclaiming, “union buster.”
Both demonstrations were organized, in part, by the UTU’s Illinois State Legislative Office, Illinois State Legislative Director Bob Guy and the UTU Collective Bargaining Defense Fund.
In Wisconsin, Walker was an architect of legislation to curtail collective bargaining rights and weaken the organizing abilities of labor unions. He also rejected federal funds to build high-speed rail in Wisconsin, which cost Wisconsin hundreds of jobs. Because of grass roots efforts in Wisconsin by organized labor and its friends – funded in part by the UTU Collective Bargaining Defense Fund — Walker faces a recall election in June.
In Indiana, Daniels supported the recent passage by the state legislature of right-to-work (for less) legislation.
“Illinois UTU members were thrilled about the opportunity to gather with our brothers and sisters of labor to protest the appearance of governors who care more about business interests than the working families,” Guy said. “We sent strong messages to the two anti-union governors, as well as our Illinois lawmakers, that attacks on collective bargaining rights won’t work in Illinois.”
The Champaign rally included a workshop on the negative impact of right-to-work (for less) legislation on collective bargaining, and guidance on how union members should communicate the issue to their communities and fellow workers.

Wisconsin Rally; Wisconsin; Rally; protestRepublican Gov. Scott Walker, the architect of anti-union legislation in his state, faces a recall election in June. He becomes the first governor in Wisconsin history to face recall.

The UTU, through its Collective Bargaining Defense Fund, worked with other labor  organizations, including the Sheet Metal Workers International Association, to obtain almost one million signatures forcing the recall election — almost twice as many as required.

The New York Times reports that, in the nation’s history, only two governors have been removed from office through recall votes: California Gov. Gray Davis in 2003 and North Dakota Gov. Lynn Frazier in 1921.

A former White House counsel to President George H.W. Bush, C. Boyden Gray, was quoted that the Walker recall election “has national implications” as working families react to a string of attempts by conservatives in many states to restrict collective bargaining rights and limit the ability of labor unions to represent workers.

Also facing recall in June are Wisconsin Republican Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch and three Republican state senators, all of whom supported the anti-union legislation; while a fourth resigned from office prior to facing a recall election. That vacant seat will be filled also in the June election.

In August 2011, two state senators who had supported Gov. Walker’s assault on collective bargaining rights were successfully recalled and replaced by more moderate lawmakers.

In 2011, the UTU Collective Bargaining Defense Fund was instrumental in overturning, at the ballot box, an Ohio law restricting collective bargaining rights.

Meanwhile, a federal court in March invalidated portions of the Wisconsin law – one provision requiring annual recertification of a union, and another denying workers the right to have union dues withheld from their paychecks. Both were found in violation of constitutional free speech rights.

Wisconsin Rally; Wisconsin; Rally; protestA new assault on labor unions is commencing in Indiana, with the Republican-controlled legislature setting their No. 1 2012 priority on passing right-to-work legislation that would permit workers covered under collective bargaining agreements to opt out of paying union dues.
The objective is to weaken union finances, bargaining clout and political power, says The New York Times, which reports that while right-to-work laws are on the books in 22 states in the West and the South, this would be the first right-to-work law in the East, New England and the Midwest.
If the legislation passes the Republican-controlled Indiana legislature, it is expected to be signed into law by Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels, who has been identified by the Economist magazine as a possible emerging candidate for U.S. president this spring.
The UTU Collective Bargaining Defense Fund will be assisting other labor unions in an educational campaign among Indiana voters, similar to the efforts in Wisconsin that unseated two Republican senators in a recall and which resulted in voter ballot-box repeal of legislation in Ohio that curtailed public employee collective bargaining rights.
The New York Times says Democratic lawmakers in Indiana “have also hinted that they might once again flee to Illinois, as they did last year, to block votes on anti-union bills.”
According to The New York Times, 8.2 percent of Indiana’s private sector workers belong to unions, compared with 6.9 percent nationwide. “That is down from more than 20 percent three decades ago as many unionized factories have closed and largely nonunion industries like finance and retail have expanded,” reported the newspaper.
The New York Times cited a study that the portion of free riders in right-to-work states ranged from 9 percent in Georgia to 39 percent in South Dakota. And another study cited found that in the five years after states enacted right-to-work laws, the number of unionization drives dropped by 28 percent, and in the following five years by an added 12 percent, while organizing wins fell by 46 percent in the first five years and 30 percent the next five.
To learn more about the UTU Collective Bargaining Defense Fund, click on the following link:

Wisconsin Rally; Wisconsin; Rally; protest“On Wisconsin” is the fight song of the University of Wisconsin.

“Back to Wisconsin” is the fight song of the UTU Collective Bargaining Defense Fund and other organizations determined to continue a successful “red zone” defense against anti-union political zealots.

Organized labor – with considerable assistance from the UTU Collective Bargaining Defense Fund – helped engineer the recall of two Wisconsin state senators who plotted to eliminate collective bargaining rights for state workers in that state, and then defeated, at the ballot box, an Ohio legislative attempt to do the same.

Elected lawmakers nationwide, as well as political analysts, fully digested that those successes by organized labor and its friends and now recognize organized labor is not to be abused or ignored. 

Now the focus turns to a recall of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, the architect of the Wisconsin assault on collective bargaining rights and organized labor. A successful recall could stop dead in its tracks further efforts by anti-labor zealots — nationwide and in Congress — to attack the fundamental rights of working Americans to organize and bargain collectively.

Indeed, in union there is strength, and now that strength is being focused on obtaining 540,000 signatures of Wisconsin voters to force a recall of Gov. Walker – the anti-union politician who started this unnecessary fight.

As the Associated Press reported, the drive to collect the 540,000 signatures is “fueled by anger over Walker’s successful push to take away nearly all public worker collective bargaining rights.”

It is fueled also by recognition among working families — union and non-union — that this was only the opening salvo in an effort to destroy labor unions and return America to the days when workers were entirely beholden to the daily whims of management.

In Wisconsin, the UTU Collective Bargaining Defense Fund is helping to organize rallies, buy television and radio air time to explain the recall effort, engage in door-to-door canvassing of voters, operate phone banks, send letters to the editor, meet with media editorial boards, and establish “sign the petition” booths throughout the state.

Less than two weeks into the recall campaign, volunteers have collected more than 300,000 signatures. With 540,000 signatures, a recall election could be held as early as April 2012.

In an incredible statement, Gov. Walker told a Wisconsin radio station, in response to the rallies, “You see a total disregard for people’s families and others here.” One would have thought he was responding to his own anti-labor efforts.

For more information on the UTU Collective Bargaining Defense Fund, click on the following link:


SB 5 Rally; Carl Morgano; Morgano, CarlVoters in Ohio overwhelmingly restored to public employees Nov. 8 their collective bargaining rights that a conservative majority in the state legislature – with support from Gov. John Kasich — chose to revoke earlier this year.

The mean-spirited legislative attack on collective bargaining rights was so repugnant to Ohio citizens that 1.3 million affixed their signature on petitions to place the law on the November general election ballot – a rare and not lightly taken action of direct democracy.

By nearly a two-to-one margin, Ohio voters overturned the law, sending it to the dust bin of political history, along with a strong message to conservative lawmakers that they best not again seek to trash workers’ rights to collectively bargain for wages, benefits and working conditions.

The New York Times called the landslide vote “a slap to Ohio’s governor, John Kasich, a prominent Republican who had championed the law.” Vice President Joe Biden said, “Fundamental fairness has prevailed.”

The UTU Collective Bargaining Defense Fund played a meaningful role in overturning the law, with active and retired UTU members in Ohio helping to organize public demonstrations, circulating petitions to place the law on the November ballot, and assisting in voter registration and get-out-the-vote drives that involved knocking on doors and providing rides to the polls.

The phrase repeated to Ohio voters a million times over by UTU volunteers was, “Don’t let others decide your future.”

UTU Ohio State Legislative Director Glenn Newsom spent months visiting locals and directing mail and phone messages to active and retired UTU members about the importance of voting and encouraging others to vote for repeal of the law.

This was the second victory for the UTU Collective Bargaining Defense Fund. In July, two anti-labor senators, who had voted in favor of a law similar to the one in Ohio, were removed from office in Wisconsin following a recall effort with strong UTU participation. Democrats and union leaders there now hope to channel momentum from the Ohio victory into an effort to recall Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.

A coalition of labor unions and community groups didn’t take back the Wisconsin state senate from anti-union extremists Tuesday night, Aug. 9, but voters enraged over the extremists’ political agenda did unseat two of the six senators targeted for recall.

“Seeing that we were outspent three-to-one, that recall elections are rare in American politics and that our effort to change the face of the Wisconsin legislature only began a few months ago, contributors to the UTU Collective Bargaining Defense Fund can be proud of the accomplishment of unseating two extremists, and, especially, the message the recall election sent anti-union politicians nationwide,” said UTU Alternate National Legislative Director John Risch.

The Wisconsin recall effort began after political extremists in that state legislature voted to curtail public-employee bargaining rights as a first step toward weakening labor-union power.

An anti-union agenda by political extremists in Ohio similarly energized labor and community groups there, culminating in a successful petition drive that puts the political extremists’ anti-union legislation to a direct voter referendum in Ohio in November.

And in Indiana, political extremists abandoned their effort to curtail public-employee collective bargaining rights after the pushback by labor and community groups began in Wisconsin and Ohio.

In all cases, the UTU Collective Bargaining Defense Fund played an effective role.

In Madison, Wis., Tuesday, a voter told the Capitol-Times newspaper, “I think the fact that this election is going on right now is a victory in and of itself. We put [the anti-union lawmakers] on the hot seat. I would have liked to have seen us run the table on them, but this is okay for now.”

The UTU’s political consultant, Dean Mitchell, noted that the Wisconsin recall elections are a “test run for organized labor in expanding and improving its get-out-the-vote message and efforts ahead of the 2012 presidential election, where Wisconsin will be one of the swing states. The UTU can be proud that the two senators successfully recalled are from the two voting districts in the state with the most UTU members registered.”

UTU National Legislative Director James Stem said the extremist agenda in Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana and other states to privatize schools and weaken labor unions mirrors the efforts of extremists in Congress to fold Railroad Retirement into Social Security, privatize Social Security and Medicare, eliminate Amtrak and destroy organized labor.

 “The situation in Wisconsin allowed the UTU and other labor organizations to fine-tune our communication strategies,” Stem said. “We are very proud of the manner in which our active and retired members responded to our efforts. The UTU Collective Bargaining Defense Fund and the UTU PAC will continue to spearhead our efforts going forward to protect our collective bargaining rights and defend against these brazen attacks on the middle-class.

“We owe temporary Gov. Scott Walker a debt of gratitude for waking up the middle class to the battle being waged against them,” Stem said. “We will use the lessons learned in the Wisconsin recall to improve our efforts and communications in Ohio and in presidential and congressional elections in 2012.”

Sturdy confirmation of the value of the UTU Collective Bargaining Defense Fund emerged from a Wisconsin vote tally this second week of July – the second of three heats in a race to unseat anti-labor senators in special recall elections.

Wisconsin voters, awakened to and energized against anti-labor efforts of political extremists in their state legislature, cast majority ballots for labor-friendly candidates in primary elections.

The primaries were in advance of Aug. 9 special elections to recall state senators who earlier this year voted to strip Wisconsin public employees of their collective bargaining rights.

As Wisconsin has an open primary and no party registration, the labor-friendly candidates (all Democrats) found themselves pitted against Republican political extremists who entered the Democratic primaries as sham Democrats. They had hoped to win the primaries and assure either their own victory or victory for the incumbents they would face when the recall elections are held Aug. 9. The sham tactics failed.

Indeed, Wisconsin voters knew the difference between the real labor-friendly candidates and the sham candidates because of shoe-leather exertions by union members in Wisconsin. They knocked on doors, handed out educational materials and urged voters to go to the polls. Those successful efforts – as well as the earlier successful petition drive to force the recall elections — were supported by the UTU Collective Bargaining Defense Fund.

Legislative attacks on organized labor in Wisconsin – duplicated in Ohio, where organized labor’s counter offensive also is proving successful – is part of a more expansive effort among political extremists nationwide to destroy organized labor, fold Railroad Retirement into Social Security, privatize Social Security and Medicare, eliminate Amtrak and starve other public transit operations of funds.

The UTU’s political consultant, Dean Mitchell, said, “The UTU Collective Bargaining Defense Fund made a difference by working with the Wisconsin AFL-CIO on member-to-member communication. UTU members in Wisconsin were contacted through phone calls and special mailings, urging them to vote in the Wisconsin primary. UTU International President Mike Futhey also hosted a town hall meeting via telephone with UTU active and retired members in Wisconsin.

Mitchell has been coordinating a multi-state effort among UTU legislative directors to educate voters to the threat posed by political extremists and to energize UTU members and retirees and their families to be politically active.

That communication effort will be duplicated in advance of the Wisconsin recall elections Aug. 9.

In Ohio, the UTU Collective Bargaining Defense Fund helped to fuel a petition drive that put that state’s anti-labor legislation on hold pending a voter referendum in November. The fund is also assisting with efforts in other states to block anti-labor efforts advanced by political extremists.

Activities fueled by the UTU Collective Bargaining Defense Fund have spawned media attention, which in turn helps to educate large numbers of middle-class voters to the anti-labor agenda of political extremists.

As evidenced in the Wisconsin primaries, voters are expressing anger with the attacks on organized labor even though many have never belonged to a labor union. They recognize that today’s attacks on labor unions are a prelude to a future attack on the middle class in America.

To learn more about the UTU Collective Bargaining Defense Fund, and how to contribute, click on the following link:

Arty Martin

NEW YORK — If we don’t vote our paychecks and help to elect labor-friendly candidates, then lawmakers seeking to reduce union-member wages and benefits and weaken workplace safety laws and regulations will be the ones controlling state and federal legislative bodies, UTU Assistant President Arty Martin warned members at the UTU’s eastern regional meeting here.

In dozens of state legislatures, political extremists have introduced legislation to eliminate or curtail collective bargaining rights and otherwise reduce the ability of unions to represent working men and women, Martin said.

And in Congress, political extremists are pushing an agenda to weaken workplace safety regulation, fold Railroad Retirement into Social Security, privatize Social Security and Medicare, and privatize Amtrak as an initial step toward eliminating all federal subsidies for rail passenger service, Martin said.

Many of these political extremists, said Martin, came to office with support of union members who focused on emotional ballot-box issues apart from job security and workplace safety. “These issues are important to many of our members, but the most important issues are our jobs and the ability to return home safely from work,” he said.

He used Ohio and Wisconsin as two examples. In both states, anti-union legislation was passed by state legislatures and signed into law. When union members realized that the rug had been pulled out from under collective bargaining rights, and that the political extremists supporting the bills had an even broader anti-union agenda, the lights went on in union households.

In Ohio, UTU members, other union members and other concerned citizens collected some 1.3 million signatures in a petition drive to put that state’s anti-union legislation on hold pending a voter referendum on the bill this November.

And in Wisconsin, UTU and other union members collected sufficient signatures in multiple petition drives to force recall elections of many anti-union state senators who supported the legislation curtailing collective bargaining rights.

Martin urged UTU members to contribute to the UTU Collective Bargaining Defense Fund, which is fighting anti-union legislative efforts in various states, and to become more involved in the UTU PAC, which supports union-friendly candidates for state and federal office.

It is said by some opinion leaders and decision makers that labor unions are on the decline — that labor unions have become irrelevant in our society and ineffective in influencing public policy.

Recent events in Ohio and Wisconsin properly send such notions to the rubbish bin.

Recall that political extremists in both states used extraordinary tactics to muscle through legislation stripping public employees of their collective bargaining rights.

It was the first step toward weakening the link between workers and labor unions – the first step toward privatizing Social Security, Railroad Retirement and Medicare, weakening workplace safety regulations, and returning to the days of take-it-or-leave-it offers by employers to their workers.

What union-busting lawmakers did not expect is the public backlash generated by organized labor and its members, whom they thought were so weak and irrelevant that they would retreat with barely a whimper.

Oh, yeah?

In the wake of the Ohio and Wisconsin assaults on collective bargaining rights, union brothers and sisters worked collectively and tirelessly to educate the media and the public – through, for example, the UTU Collective Bargaining Defense Fund — about the assault launched by political extremists on middle-class values.

First by the hundreds, then the thousands, then the tens of thousands, and then by the hundreds of thousands did citizens respond to the messages of union brothers and sisters. The outrage initially was expressed in huge and loud rallies around the states. Then came the action.

In Ohio, UTU members joined with brothers and sisters in other labor organizations to launch a petition drive to put the union-busting legislation on hold pending a voter referendum in November. With Ohio State Legislative Director Glenn Newsom coordinating the efforts, members from 22 UTU locals in Ohio fanned out across the state seeking signatures on the petitions. They were joined by brothers and sisters from other labor organizations.

To succeed, 231,000 voter signatures were required. Five times that number — more than 1.2 million voters – signed the petitions.

You can be certain that the number of signatures obtained on these petitions is sending waves of remorse through the ranks of those who voted with the political extremists. After all, they, too, must face the voters.

In Wisconsin, meanwhile, petition drives coordinated by State Legislative Director Tim Deneen – and other labor organizations — are forcing many of the political extremists responsible for the anti-union legislation in that state to face recall elections in July and August.  By the scores – and of  this you can be certain — lawmakers in Wisconsin are discussing how to separate themselves from the anti-union political extremists facing recall, and regain the support of voters.

On July 5, International President Mike Futhey will hold, via telephone conference call, town hall meetings with Ohio and Wisconsin UTU members to discuss the next steps to ensure voter repeal of the Ohio legislation in November, and the recall of the anti-union Wisconsin lawmakers in July and August.

When union brothers and sisters act together in solidarity, organized labor proves not just to be relevant, but to be darn effective in influencing public policy.

Need we say more as to why UTU members should donate to the UTU Collective Bargaining Fund, and to the UTU PAC, which helps to elect and re-elect union-friendly lawmakers at the state and federal level?

Ok, we will say just a few more words: The jobs and economic futures you save through these actions may well be your own jobs and the economic futures of your families.

To learn more about the UTU Collective Bargaining Defense Fund, click on the following link:

To learn more about the UTU PAC, click on the following link:

MADISON, Wis. – A divided state supreme court here June 14 ruled in a 4-3 decision that the state’s controversial law revoking collective-bargaining rights for public employees may go into effect – overturning an injunction issued by a lower court.

This is important to UTU members for two reasons:

  • Political extremists in other states and in Congress will be emboldened by this decision, and that means a more concerted attack to fold Railroad Retirement into Social Security; privatize Social Security and Medicare, ending those programs as we know them; eliminate federal funding for Amtrak as a first step toward shutting it down; abolish income protection in railroad mergers, line sales and abandonments; and decimate workplace safety regulations and income.
  • The Wisconsin state supreme court decision would have gone the other way had a labor-friendly challenger to the incumbent won that seat on the court in a recent election. The challenger, written off early as unelectable, came within a few thousand votes of victory only because the state’s attack on collective-bargaining rights so enraged Wisconsin voters. Those voters became enraged because of a public outcry fueled by labor-union activism made possible by the UTU Collective Bargaining Defense Fund and similar programs initiated by other labor organizations.

In fact, labor-union activism in Wisconsin generated such substantial support that many of the lawmakers who voted to strip public employees of their collective bargaining rights now face recall elections this summer. The UTU Collective Bargaining Defense Fund will assist in educating Wisconsin voters and helping to energize them to go to the polls and cast votes to recall those lawmakers.

If the recall is successful, it is possible that the law will be changed by a more moderate Wisconsin legislature where many lawmakers who supported the anti-union measure are now rethinking their votes in light of the public outrage. In the Wisconsin House, language is being prepared for insertion in a budget bill to reinsert the collective bargaining language that was stricken under the leadership and bullying of political extremists.

Additionally, in Ohio, where the legislature passed a state law similarly curtailing public employee collective bargaining rights, the measure is now on hold and headed for a voter referendum in November because of labor-union activism made possible by the UTU Collective Bargaining Defense Fund and similar programs by other labor organizations.

Voters across the nation are recognizing the threat posed to working families by political extremists intent upon dismantling government and turning back decades of progressive legislation.

Hundreds of UTU members and retirees, along with UTU locals and general committees, have made generous contributions to the UTU Collective Bargaining Defense Fund.

More is needed. The Collective Bargaining Defense Fund is accomplishing what it was established to do.

Meanwhile, the UTU PAC is in need of additional contributions to help labor-friendly candidates challenge and defeat extremists in congressional and state elections in November 2012.

For more information on the UTU Collective Bargaining Defense Fund, click on the following link:

For more information on how UTU members can join the UTU PAC, or increase their contributions, send an email to, or click on the following link: