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Public employee union interviews five Dems for Walker recall
Wisconsin Education Association Council draws flak over its endorsement of Kathleen Falk
The state teachers union is taking criticism from some members around the state for an early endorsement of Kathleen Falk in the likely recall election against Gov. Scott Walker but is sticking with the decision.
Since the announcement of the Falk endorsement, the criticism of it has included a website soliciting signatures to have Wisconsin Education Association Council change its mind.
John Matthews, executive director of Madison Teachers Inc., the second-largest member union within WEAC and a union with members in the heart of Falk's home county, said the endorsement came before it was clear whether there would be other challengers to Walker. He said his union would wait to make its own endorsement.
"We have a lot of our members who wish they would have waited until all the candidates were known. I think they made the wrong decision but I don't see how they can get out of it," Matthews said of WEAC.
Falk, the former Dane County executive, has committed to vetoing the next state budget bill if it doesn't restore collective bargaining. The other potential Democratic candidates have said they also would restore collective bargaining but haven't publicly committed to that strategy.
Mary Bell, president of WEAC, said that she didn't anticipate any change in the recommendation her group made Wednesday.
"There are people who are surprised. There are people who are concerned. There are people who are in disagreement but a recommendation is just that," Bell said.
Bell said her union's board of directors made the endorsement early to give time to educate WEAC's members about it.
Kim Marsolek, a teacher and union local president in Wausaukee, about 60 miles north of Green Bay, said she was surprised by WEAC's endorsement.
"They didn't consult us," she said. "That really bothered me."
Marsolek, a 23-year veteran of her union, said she felt Walker had taken away teachers' voices by diminishing the power of unions. Now, WEAC was doing the same thing, she said.
"He's doing it," she said of Walker. "Why do they have to?"