Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has adopted a Southern strategy—touting the “accomplishments” of the most conservative governors from the states of the old Confederacy—as he enters the critical final weeks of the historic Wisconsin recall election.
Walker, who has aggressively challenged Wisconsin’s progressive tradition, is bringing in Southern governors who promote union-busting policies and economic-development strategies that raid Northern states and move jobs to states where organized labor is restrained and wages are kept low.
Next week, the Wisconsin governor who last year led the fight to strip collective-bargaining rights away from public employees and teachers, will campaign with South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, who proudly describes herself as “a union buster.”
In an interview with Greta Van Susteren on Fox News Wednesday (following an interview with Walker), Haley proudly declared: “There’s a reason South Carolina’s the new ‘it’ state. It’s because we’re a union buster.”
Haley has been the chief proponent of so-called “right to work” laws that undermine the collective bargaining and organizing rights of unions. She dismissed union members as “thugs” and said: “I’m not going to stop beating up on the unions.”
That’s a big deal in the Wisconsin recall race, as Walker has been under pressure to explain his appearance in a video where he and a wealthy donor are seen discussing strategies to make Wisconsin a low-wage “right to work” state.
Walker says that he does not plan at this point to promote the sort of “right to work” legislation that he once championed as a state legislator—and that his chief legislative allies are currently talking up. But he has not said he would veto a right-to-work law. And Walker has shown no qualms about campaigning side-by-side with the nation’s most ardent advocate of right-to-work laws.
Haley has gone out of her way in recent months to identify herself as the nation’s leading champion of right-to-work laws—and, arguably, it’s most prominent and militant critic of organized labor. She says: “Unions are not needed, wanted or welcome in South Carolina.”
The South Carolina governor recently promoted a package of “reforms” that will give South Carolina the toughest right-to-work laws in the nation.