Wisconsin Education Association Council (WEAC) President Mary Bell got caught lying. On the record no less.
On February 8, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that public-employee unions were attempting to extract from Democratic gubernatorial candidates a pledge to veto the state budget if collective bargaining rights were not restored. The smoking gun came from James Palmer, the Executive Director of the Wisconsin Professional Police Association who’s quotes contributed to the Journal Sentinel’s story:
Palmer, whose union endorsed Barrett in his losing bid for governor in 2010, said he strongly supports the restoration of collective bargaining but opposes the tactic of asking candidates for such a budget pledge.
He said other public-employee unions such as the Wisconsin Education Association Council and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees were making such requests for a budget veto on the issue.
“They’ve demanded a hard commitment,” Palmer said.
At the time of the article, not a single representative for a public-employee union denied the allegations made by Palmer including Marty Beil of AFSCME and Mary Bell of WEAC.
Bell denied reports that WEAC asked candidates to pledge to veto a budget bill that does not restore collective bargaining rights for public employees.
“Absolutely not,” she said. “It’s not the approach that any of us would take.”
So which is it?
When Media Trackers reached out to James Palmer of the WPPA, Palmer did not back away from his statement to Journal Sentinel. Palmer wrote:
I stand wholeheartedly by my statement regarding the effort of some unions to solicit a veto pledge from potential gubernatorial candidates. In my view, such an approach, which makes for both bad policy and politics, is reckless at best, and at worst, it represents the very kind of back-room dealing the public has come to resent. Fortunately, I’m aware of only one candidate that was tempted by this nefarious solicitation.
Mary Bell’s subsequent denial is completely false and amounts to nothing more than damage control.
The statements of fellow union leader James Palmer along with gubernatorial candidates Tim Cullen, Peter Barca, and Kathleen Vinehout all seem to indicate that AFSCME and WEAC did indeed attempt to extract a veto pledge from Democratic gubernatorial candidates. And Kathleen Falk has not only admitted she made this pledge but doubled down on her commitment by publishing an editorial in the LaCrosse Tribuneentitled “Veto pledge important for Wisconsin.”
The only one confused about the issue appears to be WEAC President Mary Bell who has succumbed to lying in a feeble attempt to cover up her back-room scheme.
Shame, shame, shame.
By Collin Roth