Monday, November 11, 2013

Is Burke Another Abele?

Even before Mary Burke announced her desire to buy the governorship, I had questions about her stance towards labor.

We already knew that she spent $120,000 on a school board seat - ten times that of her opponent, a good
Image via Madison Times
union man.  That seemed and still seems rather excessive, such as that she wanted to buy the seat because she couldn't win it.

Then, while on said school board, she was the only one to vote against the teachers.  It was only later that she came out with such a lame excuse - that she was upset more of the tax levee wasn't going for teachers' pay - that no one believes her.

We also knew that while the employees of Trek, Burke's company, were generally happy, many of them had been laid off as she sent their jobs overseas to China.

When she finally got around to announcing her candidacy, people were so tired of the hype that they started questioning her openly.  Democratic officers and operatives swore up and down that Labor would support her.

Side note: My favorite moment from that day is when a noted Democratic fundraiser responded to my pointing out her failure to support the teachers, was that it was "just one union."  I reminded him of the union credo of "An injury to one is and injury to all." I'm still waiting for his response a month later.
Recently, she was in Sheboygan where she used her strongest language yet regarding Act 10:

Burke said she’s refusing to make promises on any issue during her campaign in order to win votes from special interest groups, but she did say she would “absolutely” work with state legislators to once again allow public employees to collectively bargain on their wages.

Burke never mentioned Walker by name but said Act 10, which effectively ended collective bargaining for most public workers, has left the state’s economy weakened, its people divided and went far beyond what was needed to balance the budget.

“I think it’s one of the reasons why our economy hasn’t rebounded,” she said.
Unfortunately, Burke has also said that she feels something had to be done, but that Act 10 wasn't the way to go. I say unfortunately because a report from EIP shows that the public sector workers' benefits had nothing - I repeat, nothing - to do with the financial crisis. So even though she would have negotiated the big pay cuts, they would still have had the negative impact on the community.

It sounds like Milwaukee County Emperor Chris Abele's faulty logic he uses to put draconian cuts to county workers.

But for me, what was even more alarming was this comment from Burke:
“I don’t look at options as necessarily being Republican or Democrat,” Burke said. “Let’s choose the ones that are best for the people of Wisconsin.”
That is the exact same language that Abele likes to use when trying to justify his acts of austerity and attacks on Milwaukee's vulnerable citizens or its workers.

If Burke wants to gain the support of the state's progressives (if she is even still able to), she needs to stop sounding and acting like a plutocrat and distance herself from the elitist ways of Abele.

I, for one, despite my desperate desire to rid us of Scott Walker once and for all, will not support someone who will not make things better, or, like Abele, actually make things worse.  I also know many other who feel the same way.  And that won't change no matter how much she spends or how fancy (or corrupt) her campaign workers are.


  1. "We also knew that while the employees of Trek, Burke's company, were generally happy, many of them had been laid off as she sent their jobs overseas to China."

    Your citing an incident that occurred...eight years after she left the organization?

    I get being critical of the company that's her family's legacy, but I don't think it's accurate to imply these job cuts/moves were due to her management style.

    1. Are you saying that Burke had no influence on the company?

    2. Trek has outsourced THOUSANDS more jobs than they have created -- not only at Trek, but in all the other bike companies they have bought-up over the years (Klein, LeMond, Bontrager, Fisher, ect)

    3. It is my understanding that Trek is building bicycles in China to be sold in China because the shipping costs would have priced them out of the market. Bicycles sold in the US are built in Wisconsin.

    4. It is my understanding that Trek is building bicycles in China to be sold in China because the shipping costs would have priced them out of the market. Bicycles sold in the US are built in Wisconsin.

      Most Trek bicycles sold in the US are probably built in China because building them in the US would have reduced executive salaries and every Harvard MBA knows that is not how it is done.

      Due to unions and government regulations workers in Wisconsin are not willing to work for slave wages like those in China and Taiwan where Trek production seems to be centered.

      Mary Burke has already addressed the issue of outsourcing of Wisconsin worker's jobs due to overseas production of Trek bicycles ad components by her silence. In the meantime, her supporters and others plant misinformation such as posted above.

    5. Wrong. Trek came out and said exactly what I posted. That is where I heard it, in a news report several weeks ago.

  2. There is a relatively new tradition in Wisconsin of Democratic candidates for Governor using union money and volunteer labor to get elected, then immediately sticking-it to unions so as to prove to the business community that they can be tough on labor too.

    Tony Earl did it --Who can forget the execrable Howard Fuller?-- and Doyle followed suit. Burke looks as though she is a good fit with this recent trend and has said nothing so far to make me think otherwise.

    Labor and Progressives are taken for granted by the Democratic Party apparatchiks. We are considered disposable. Somehow, this dysfunctional relationship has to end.

    1. I believe their strategy is to get Burke through the primary and they expect that Labor, Progressives and Grassroots will just vote for her in desperation to get rid of Walker. What they are not counting on are people just staying home or going to a third party candidate.

  3. I'm not sure Vinehout isn't better positioned on this issue. But she hasn't gone as far as Walker in his book that says:"Public employees have a Democratic congressman's lips permanently attached to their butts." Or "You get paid twice as much as a private sector person doing the same job but make up for the difference by doing half as much work." I knew he was a joke ....but not a comedian!

  4. The main conclusion I draw from this post is that the Wisconsin left deserves Scott Walker.

  5. Would it be nice to have a true progressive running? Sure. But there isn't one. And as a State worker I would much rather work for Mary Burke than Scott Walker. When I go into a polling booth it really will be that simple. The problem as it's shaping up to be is that many on the left will stay home out of purity, or whatever and they will be just as responsible for four more years of Scooter as the people that vote for him.

    1. Look at what Abele has done to Milwaukee County workers compared to what you have to go through with Walker. It can get worse.

  6. Capper, I suppose if she wanted to be a one term governor she could be worse than Walker. But realistically that won't be the case. Ultimately the best way to stop the bleeding is to flip the Senate. But we'll see.

  7. Everyone is an armchair expert when it comes to candidates and campaigns. There is no perfect candidate. But in all my years as a citizen of Wisconsin, I have never seen such punitive and stupid governing as the current tea party governor and his mouth breathing colleagues in the legislature practice on a daily basis. With hard work on the Progressives part, we can stop this destructive downhill spiral. The truth is, Walker cannot show his face anywhere in public in Wisconsin, when have we ever had that practice from a governor before?