Tim Sullivan of the Wisconsin Mining Association had praised the bill, saying:
This is a significant step forward for workers, job creation, and the future of mining in Wisconsin. We are pleased that these labor trade organizations, representing union workers from all across Wisconsin, were able to move beyond traditional partisan politics and support a plan that will create thousands of family-supporting jobs and help invigorate Wisconsin’s economy.
The Democrats ignored him. Also ignored by Democrats were the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 139 and Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce. Lyle Balistreri, who represents more than 15,000 construction trade workers in southeastern Wisconsin, had harsh words for Wisconsin Democrats:
For the Senate Democrats to vote against this bill is a sign that they’re not with us. They’re certainly not job creators, and in fact they’re job killers.
Senate Democrats had thrown together a “CYA” compromise bill intended to provide them with political cover. But the bill went nowhere because it would have guaranteed that the mining company would have walked. The so-called “compromise” included an 18-month waiting/contest period, expanded litigation abilities allowing “environmental” groups to sue them, and a $25 million up-front tax before anything was ever even taken out of the mine. Their ruse didn’t fool labor leaders and union employees around the state.
Labor unions even sweetened the pot and seemingly had convinced Senator Tim Carpenter to switch his vote at the last minute by adding a program to train high school students in his district for future mining and manufacturing jobs. But Senator Carpenter caved in the face of public employee unions desperate to kill any job-creating measure in order to make Governor Scott Walker look bad. Carpenter voted against the bill.
Labor union employees flooded the Wisconsin rotunda before the mining vote, singing songs and lobbying Wisconsin Democrats. Democrat doors were slammed in their faces.
Nearly all of the 3,000 jobs created by the proposed mine in Wisconsin would have been union jobs, yet not one Democrat voted for it. This is only the most recent of their anti-business measures: for decades in Wisconsin, paper mills have been a target of the Democrats, who bombard these unionized mills with more and more regulations until they are forced to leave the state.
With their votes, Democrats in Wisconsin have said “no” to generations of good union jobs. They said “no” to hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenues. It’s time private industry unions and their members say “no” to the Democratic Party.