Wisconsin labor education requirement used to improve union acceptance, recruit members

The 2009 law that requires Wisconsin teachers to teach labor union and collective bargaining history to the state’s kids is seen by union bosses in the state as a means to promote their cause, frame labor’s message in a favorable light and increase membership.

When The Daily Caller reported that the state passed such a law in December 2009, it wasn’t clear that union organizers planned to utilize it to further their agenda. Newly uncovered information from an April 2010 conference, the Wisconsin Labor History Society, a pro-union group that pushed the new law through the all-Democrat state government in 2009, shows the state’s labor organizers and union bosses do indeed plan to use the controversial new law as a propaganda tool.

“I believe we are in the midst of an irrepressible labor conflict that has pitted the haves versus the have-nots,” said University of Wisconsin, Green Bay, history professor Andrew Kersten at the conference. “As Warren Buffett has said recently, ‘There is a class war, alright, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s waging it, and we’re winning.’ It’s not merely the money or the political power they crave, they seek to transform the way we think and act on a daily basis.”

At the conference meant to help teachers prepare new curricula to comply with the new AB 172 law, Kersten went on to say that teaching union history and “the struggles of working men and women and of unionists is vital to maintaining a healthy democracy.” In his speech, Kersten also attacked President Barack Obama for not focusing on labor unions in his 2010 State of the Union address, for not getting card-check legislation passed and for failing to get controversial former union lawyer Craig Becker appointed to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

The history professor, who was supposed to be helping teachers prepare new classroom materials, also took a shot at then newly elected Sen. Scott Brown, Massachusetts Republican, for being the deciding vote against Becker on the NLRB.

“The reason why he rushed to take his seat in Washington, D.C., was not to block Obama’s medical and health insurance reforms, but to stop the appointment of Obama’s NLRB nomination, Craig Becker, the union lawyer and associate general counsel for the Service Employees International Union,” Kersten said.