National union group issues savage, one-line statement on Scott Walker's defeat

Walker was not a friend to unions during his time as Wisconsin governor.
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Scott Walker's tenure as governor of Wisconsin is coming to an end, and union leaders are reveling in his defeat.

Walker was a noted union-buster during his reign in Wisconsin, but he'll relinquish power after losing to Democrat Tony Evers in a tight race on Tuesday.

And after Walker conceded defeat on Wednesday, the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) issued this savage, one-line statement in response.

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The line was described as "clapback poetry" by Mashable, which notes the terse statement was a hark-back to the statement the AFL-CIO issued after Walker announced his 2015 run for president: "Scott Walker is a national disgrace."

And after he failed in his bid for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, the AFL-CIO said: "Scott Walker is still a disgrace, just no longer a national one."

Given what went before, the "was" in its latest statement was particularly brutal from the AFL-CIO.

Walker vs. the unions

Walker went head-to-head with unions many times as governor, signing in 2011 a bill that stripped public sector unions of their collective bargaining rights.

This hit teaching unions particularly hard, sparking protests and resulting in a significant rise in teachers either leaving the profession, or switching districts to find better pay.

Wisconsin's next governor, Evers, is himself a former teacher.

Walker also implemented a "right-to-work" law that banned mandatory union membership and prohibited workers being forced to pay union fees as conditions of employment.

As NPR reported, this was heavily opposed by unions who said it restricted collective bargaining power, though it was supported by some prominent Wisconsin business groups.

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The Chicago Sun Times' Editorial Board said that the results in Wisconsin in Tuesday were a strong rebuke for anti-union policies, at a time where workers need strong advocates more than ever in the face of the increasing gap between rich and poor.

While Quartz notes that Walker became a "lightning rod" for Democratic criticism over his anti-union policies, it also says that the cuts to education funding under Walker's watch was a major part of Evers' campaign to unseat him.

Meanwhile, the Chicago Tribune says that the reaction to President Trump's almost two years in power depressed Republican turnout and boosted Democratic numbers.

Walker issued a statement conceding defeat on Wednesday in which he thanked the residents of Wisconsin for their support.

"It has been my honor to serve as your Governor for nearly eight years," he wrote.

"We’ve come a long way together and it is my sincere hope that the progress we’ve made during our time in office will continue and that we can keep Wisconsin working for generations to come."

He also tweeted this on Thursday morning.

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