Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker announced on Twitter he is running for the Republican nomination for president. Walker’s hostile history with Wisconsin's unions has led some to call him a “national disgrace," and others to call him a “hero."
During Walker’s time as governor of Wisconsin, his first big policy fight came as he eliminated collective bargaining rights for most public employees in 2011, despite heavy protests. Wisconsin was the first state to provide public workers with collective bargaining rights. It is also largely credited for starting America’s union movement in 1847.
The 2011 protests included citizens flooding the Wisconsin Capitol to protest the elimination of collective bargaining rights. Democratic legislatures fled to Iowa to prevent the state assembly from voting on the plan. Public school teachers closed down schools, reports Yahoo.
In 2012, unions pushed for a recall election. In recall elections, voters can remove an official from office by direct vote before the end of his term. Walker eventually won the recall.
In March 2015, Walker signed right-to-work legislation that gave all workers in unionized industries the choice of whether to contribute to unions. They had previously been able to require workers to pay fees in return for the union’s collective bargaining on their behalf on wages, benefits and hours.
After Walker officially declared his candidacy, Richard Trumka, head of the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations released a statement. AFL-CIO is a national trade union center and the largest union group in the U.S., made up of 56 national and international unions and representing more than 12 million workers.
Trumka, a longtime political nemesis of Walker, had only six words in response to the announcement: “Scott Walker is a national disgrace.”
An AFL-CIO spokesman confirmed that comment was in its entirety, reports The Huffington Post saying that Trumka “said what needed to be said.”
Walker’s anti-union agenda has made him unpopular with labor groups but a favorite of some prominent conservatives, who have called him a "hero" and "sexy."
Co-host of Fox News commentary show, "Fox and Friends," Brian Kilmeade told Walker “No one can question your leadership.”
Dagan McDowell, co-host of Fox News’ "Outnumbered," said Walker was the “unknown sexy guy” in the Republican field. Fox’s Andrea Tantaros said he makes her “toes curl” but former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush does not, reports Media Matters.
Rush Limbaugh called Walked a “genuine hero” who has defeated “every American labor union thug.”
Fox’s Sean Hannity agreed Walker is a hero on his own show, "Hannity." Walker later appeared on his program for an interview and told Hannity of his achievements while in office. “Wow!” Hannity said, “I think this is a template or a model that should be duplicated on a national level."