Democratic presidential hopeful and self-proclaimed socialist Bernie Sanders Tuesday went after Republican Gov. Scott Walker for limiting union power in Wisconsin.
“Needless to say I’m strongly opposed to his agenda,” Sanders told reporters during a phone conference, according Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “I think we need leadership in this country that is ready to stand up for working families. We need to strengthen the trade union movement in this country, not break it.”
Though most of the major unions have yet to officially endorse a candidate, local unions have been increasingly moving to support Sanders. Walker, however, is loathed by organized labor for the labor reforms he passed during his first term as governor.
Though he has yet to officially announce, Walker is expected to run for the Republican nomination.
Sanders will visit Wisconsin Wednesday for what is expected to be his biggest campaign rally to date. Though he is expected to address income inequality, international trade and the minimum wage he is also likely to bringing up Walker’s labor reforms.
The reforms, known as Act 10, significantly changed the collective bargaining process for most public employees within the state. It also required public unions to hold a renewal vote every couple of years to determine if workers still wanted them. Labor unions and supporters adamantly opposed the law and even tried to get Walker thrown out of office.
“It’s worth noting that the reforms included in Act 10 eliminated requirements for seniority and tenure in schools,” Laurel Patrick, press secretary for Walker, told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “Many of the critics claiming these changes will cause harm are the same types of voices who said public education would be harmed because of our Act 10 reforms. Today, graduation rates are up, third grade reading scores are up, and ACT scores are second best in the country.”
Republicans in the legislature went a step further in the past year when they passed a law which banned mandatory union dues as a condition of employment. Though Walker wasn’t directly involved in creating the measure, unions blamed him anyways.
The support for Sanders among the labor movement comes despite Hillary Clinton being the frontrunner for the Democratic nominee.
Hillary lost favor with many within the labor movement for not taking a firm stance against President Barack Obama on his current trade talks. Sanders on the other hand was quick to stand oppose the trade talks.
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