Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s hoped-for legacy as savior of the Wisconsin economy and his assurances that destroying union rights for public workers would turn the state into a job generating success were smashed for good yesterday.

A new report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that Wisconsin is the only one of 50 states in the nation to suffer “statistically significant” job loss from March 2011 to March 2012.

Translation into better English: While 49 states are either holding the line or seeing at least some small improvement in the jobs sector, Walker’s experiment with using attacks on unions to create jobs is a complete and unmitigated flop.

Since the governor’s attack on unions by eliminating the collective bargaining rights of public employees the sate of Wisconsin has lost 23,900 jobs, the largest amount of job loss, by percentage, anywhere in the country. There were 17,800 public sector job losses due to budget cuts while 6,100 workers in the private sector also lost their jobs.

“Voters are certainly going to keep this in mind when they vote this spring in the recall elections,” said Phil Neuenfeldt, president of the Wisconsin AFL-CIO.

The Democratic Party of Wisconsin issued a statement yesterday that said the job loss figure for Wisconsin boils down to loss of a job an hour every single day since the governor launched his attack on collective bargaining rights in the state.

The Democrats also castigated the governor for his national effort to solicit corporate campaign cash: “Scott Walker can’t credibly defend his job loss economy to the people of Wisconsin any longer, so he’s running around the country begging for sleazy corporate cash wherever he can get it – including a staggering $1 million check from the Koch brothers.”

The brothers are the Big Oil billionaires raking in huge profits from holdings all over Wisconsin and across the country.

“While Scott Walker travels the country, Wisconsin families are working harder than ever to keep their heads above water,” the statement read. Democrats are urging everyone in the state to sign a petition and tell the governor what they are busy doing all day while he is busy killing a Wisconsin job every hour.

In addition to layoffs over the last 12 months thousands of public employees are faced with pay cuts and increased workloads, taxes have been raised on seniors and working-class families and job-training programs have been cut.

On top of all of that, Walker Republicans have refused to invest in infrastructure. All of these problems, taken together with the governor’s extreme partisan agenda, are seen as contributing factors in creating a climate of uncertainty and instability leading employers to hold back on any hiring in Wisconsin.

Walker has made a major issue of how his policies have saved the state from the economic problems faced by people in Illinois, Wisconsin’s neighboring state to the south. The same government report, however, that showed Wisconsin last in job creation showed Illinois ranking third among the 50 states in job creation.


John Wojcik
John Wojcik

John Wojcik is Editor-in-Chief of People's World. He joined the staff as Labor Editor in May 2007 after working as a union meat cutter in northern New Jersey. There, he served as a shop steward and a member of a UFCW contract negotiating committee. In the 1970s and '80s, he was a political action reporter for the Daily World, this newspaper's predecessor, and was active in electoral politics in Brooklyn, New York.