Labor

Republican Governors Fought Labor Unions and Lived to Tell the Tale

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Rick Snyder
Rick Snyder / Facebook

While the Republican reconquest of the Senate was widely anticipated, things had seemed a little shakier for certain Republican gubernatorial candidates in the run-up to the election. The Senate candidates were expected to ride a wave of anti-Obama sentiment to Washington, D.C., but back in the states, Republican politicians who challenged the powerful labor coalition could have been in trouble.

But Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, both Republicans, won re-election yesterday, proving that it's possible to kick the hornet's nest and walk away unscathed.

Walker, known for pushing tough reforms on public sector unions, has now survived both a recall attempt and a re-election campaign. Snyder, who signed a right-to-work bill into law, guided Detroit through municipal bankruptcy, and reined in public sector unions, was marked for death by Big Labor in blue-ish Michigan. But he prevailed as well—by a less-close-than-expected margin of four points.

Big Republican wins in the states will probably produce some results that are unfriendly to libertarian positions, particularly on social issues. But as far as labor reforms go, Republican gubernatorial victories were a massive validation of the effort to combat bankruptcy-inducing government employment levels and curb the runaway power of unions.

Read more from Reason on why the power and influence of teachers unions seems to subsiding here.