Public sector workers have faced tough challenges recently, but a story of inspiration is emerging out of Wisconsin, as grassroots coalition United Wisconsin and state Democrats collected over a million signatures to recall Republican Governor Scott Walker. Experts say an election later this year looks inevitable.
Walker came under fire after introducing a bill to severely limit collective bargaining rights for state workers early in 2011. Wisconsinites responded with mass protests and occupied the capitol building for 17 days. The bill would eventually pass, but not before state workers and supporters drew global attention to the issue, and began a grassroots campaign to initiate the recall process. After many months of collecting signatures, their efforts proved successful—accumulating more than double the amount required.
CUPE National President Paul Moist went to Wisconsin to show his support during the protests, as did a contingent of CUPE representatives.