2014 Elections Referendum on Teacher Union Power
Teacher union officials spent millions of dollars in an attempt to elect handpicked candidates willing to do their bidding, but most were soundly defeated in favor of candidates who will challenge teacher union power and win freedom for teachers and students. Governor Scott Walker’s re-election will reinforce the changes Act 10 brought about in Wisconsin, and perhaps embolden other governors to rein in union monopoly power with similar laws.
Melanie Trottman and Kris Maher have the story in the Wall Street Journal.
Unions were unable to oust Republican governors in Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Florida and Maine after the incumbents were targeted by the AFL-CIO for pushing measures that curbed union power. In Rhode Island, many union members opposed Democrat Gina Raimondo, the state treasurer who had spearheaded deep pension cuts for state employees. Labor opposition split among two other candidates, and Ms. Raimondo was elected governor.
While the Republican wins were part of a larger election wave driven by voter dissatisfaction with the economy and Mr. Obama, labor experts say the outcomes could send a message to politicians that they can take on labor and survive. That could result in more efforts to rein in public-employee pensions, curb collective-bargaining rights for government workers, and push right-to-work laws that allow employees in unionized workplaces to opt out of paying union dues.