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Brian Sikma from Media Trackers has a piece published this week on Red State about the divide between traditional Democrat stallwart--the private sector union--and the officials they paid to elect.
Driving the debate in Wisconsin for the past several weeks was legislation to overhaul the state’s outdated mining regulations. At stake was a proposed iron ore mine in the northern Wisconsin – an area widely viewed as the most economically depressed part of the state. Mine investors noted that the hundreds of direct jobs that would be created had an average salary nearly twice the current per-household income of the region. Hundreds more ancillary jobs would also have been created in other parts of the state as the mine contracted with businesses such as Caterpillar Mining’s Milwaukee plant to manufacture the equipment needed to operate the mine.
On Tuesday, March 6, state Senate Democrats killed the regulatory overhaul that would have eliminated unnecessary bureaucratic hurdles to the issuance of a mine permit and clarified the subsequent regulatory structure under which mines must operate. Since burdensome regulations were imposed decades ago, no new iron mines have been opened in Wisconsin even though the state has one of the largest iron ore deposits in the United States.
After Senate Democrats scored a coup to kill the mine legislation by garnering the support of a lone Republican engulfed in an interpersonal conflict with fellow GOP senators, one of the state’s leading union officials blasted the move saying Democrats were proving that they were “job killers.” Lyle Balistreri, head of the 15,000 plus-member Milwaukee Building and Construction Trades Council, an AFL-CIO affiliate, took to the stage at a union rally the evening following the vote and delivered blistering remarks castigating Democrats for opposing the legislation.
The crowd of restless union members met his unscheduled anti-Democrat comments at a rally intended as an anti-Walker event with calls of approval.