A major Wisconsin engineering union endorsed Gov. Scott Walker Friday, despite intense opposition from many other labor groups.
The International Union of Operating Engineers Local 139 (IUOE) announced it was backing Walker’s reelection at Waukesha Metal Products in Sussex.
Local 139 President and Business Manager Terry McGowan said in a statement, “Thanks to Gov. Walker, not only are our men and women meeting the needs of a growing state economy by building roads and bridges, but Wisconsin is home to the largest number of distribution contractors, which enables us to supply affordable services of natural gas, electricity and telecommunications.”
Despite this endorsement, most other unions have been adamantly opposed to the governor for recent labor reforms. Back in 2011, Walker and the Republican-controlled legislature passed a state law, known as Act 10, which prohibited collective bargaining on anything beyond raises tied to inflation, eliminated automatic union dues deductions from their paychecks and requiring them to contribute more to their health insurance and pensions.
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Private sector unions like IUOE have other concerns besides Act 10, however.
“I don’t forget who pays my salary,” McGowan told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “My biggest concern is if Gov. Walker loses this race, a lot of the job opportunities that have opened up during his four-year tenure will close.”
“The progress we have made in the last four years has been significant,” McGowan added. He also notes that the IUOE has realized the great gains their union can make when they work with conservatives rather than against them.
After the endorsement, Walker released a statement emphasizing the important of engineers to the state and how happy he is to have their union’s endorsement.
“In order for the private sector to get product to market efficiently and effectively, Wisconsin must maintain a strong multi-modal infrastructure system of good roads and bridges, freight rail, ports, and airports,” Walker noted.
“In our last budget, the total investment for transportation was $6.4 billion, and we are repaying the $1.4 billion in raids to the Transportation Fund by the Burke/Doyle administration. In a second term, I will continue working to improve Wisconsin’s transportation system,” Walker went on to say.
Walker concluded, “Private sector unions are our partners in job creation, and the endorsement from the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 139 is proof that we can come together and join in the work of growing our economy to move Wisconsin forward. I thank Terry McGowan and the more than 9,000 members of the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 139 for their endorsement.”
Wisconsin’s gubernatorial election will occur on Tuesday.
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