AFSCME defends distribution of anti-Barrett video - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

AFSCME defends distribution of anti-Barrett video


MADISON (WKOW) -- Even though a new online video about Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett is factually inaccurate, the union that's distributing it isn't apologizing.  

AFSCME, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, distributed a 90 second video using a March 2011 interview Barrett did with a Milwaukee radio station.

The producer of the video makes it look like Barrett gave the Republicans the idea on how to take collective bargaining rights away from state workers.

"You could vote on those, without those missing Senators," Barrett says to radio talk show host Charlie Sykes.

It goes on to show Barrett say: "And the bill would pass, and the bill should pass."

"That takes what Tom Barrett had to say during a radio interview, totally out of context," Sen. Jon Erpenbach said at a Wednesday afternoon news conference with Barrett.

"What I was trying to do, is I was trying to find a way to deal with two very different issues," said Barrett.

Barrett said he wasn't saying he would support passing a separate measure on collective bargaining rights, rather a separate measure on public employees paying a share of their own benefits.

"We as Democrats can't afford to do this right now, we can't do this to each other, its too important right now," said Sen. Erpenbach.

But AFSCME leaders stand by their decision to release the video, stating on their web site:

"We passed it along because it illustrates an important point.  Its about choosing a leader who can best stand up to Scott Walker and boldly articulate a vision Wisconsinites feel confident will heal the unprecedented wounds Walker has inflicted on our state. Not a muddied record of tepid support for our movement or lukewarm opposition to Walker's agenda."

Barrett said voters don't have to worry about that.

"So that there's no confusion, I support the restoration of collective bargaining rights in this state."

AFSCME endorsed former Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk in the race for Governor.

Her campaign had no comment on this controversy.

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