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Locked out of Dem/Labor meeting

Empower Wisconsin | Aug. 2, 2022

MADISON — What do they do in there?

The so-called Wisconsin Legislative Democratic Labor Workgroup held its latest meeting Monday — on Zoom, of course. Dem lawmakers and Big Labor leaders discussed “various organizing efforts around the state.” Speakers included reps from powerhouse unions such as SEIU, the UAW “and possibly the AFL-CIO.”

As of publication, it’s not clear whether AFL-CIO showed up, or what “various organizing” efforts entailed. Empower Wisconsin only got word of the backroom Zoom meeting after obtaining an email urging “All Dem Legislators and Staff” to register for the session.

Empower Wisconsin attempted to register but received a no can do from Rep. Christine Sinicki aide Mary Beth George.

“The work group meetings aren’t open to the press, sorry,” she wrote in an email. She was also very curious as to how Empower Wisconsin obtained this privileged information. We politely told her that’s none of her business.

Apparently, the public isn’t entitled to know what’s going down in Legislative Labor Workgroup town. It operates as a kind of caucus, according to a state Legislative Council official, so the politicians and their Big Labor pals can meet in secret all they like.

We do know Sinicki and fellow Dem Reps Tod Ohnstad, Katrina Shankland and Janis Ringhand are listed as the group’s coordinators. All are big benefactors of Big Labor contributions to their campaigns, according to campaign finance records.

The Workgroup was created in May 2021, according to a press release.

“Democrats in Wisconsin recently formed the Legislative Democratic Labor Workgroup in order to focus on the concerns of Unions and Union Members in our state,” the press release notes. “This Labor Workgroup, made up of Democrats serving in Wisconsin’s State Senate and Assembly, recently held listening sessions with Union Leaders across the State. They have now created an online form to allow Union Members and their Unions, to communicate directly with the Legislative Democratic Labor Workgroup.”

How about that.

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