Stabbed In The Back
LABOR’S LAST STAND
Scott Walker and the dismantling of American unions
By Dan Kaufman for the New York Times Magazine June 14, 2015:
In 2010, Terry McGowan, the president of Local 139, a statewide union of 9,000 heavy-machinery operators, endorsed Walker, because he had promised to increase highway funding and build more roads. McGowan supported him again last year, but since then, he has come to reconsider.
Last fall, McGowan met with Walker, who was seeking a contribution and another endorsement for governor, at a small campaign office in Wauwatosa, outside Milwaukee. “I looked across the table at him, and I said, ‘We are both God-fearing men,’ ” McGowan told me. “ ‘If you can tell me that right-to-work will not come on your desk, then I will take you for your word.’ He looked me in the eyes, and he said, ‘It will not make it to my desk.’ He was looking for a contribution, and I was looking for a commitment. We both got what we came for. He kept his, and I lost mine…
In early March, I visited Dave Poklinkoski, the president of Local 2304, an electricians’ union, at his office in Madison, where he was drawing up a right-to-work-compliant union contract. “Divide and conquer, it works,” Poklinkoski said. “It works real well.” He dug out his iPad from under a pile of papers and pulled up an editorial cartoon by Mike Konopacki that showed a bloodied Terry McGowan, the Local 139 president, with a sword in his back, the hilt and handle in the shape of Walker’s head, labeled “R-T-W.”