The Wisconsin Fight: Bridging Women, Labor and the Progressive Movement

This post was co-authored by Mary Bell, President, Wisconsin Education Association Council.

Today, Wisconsin voters will go to the polls and cast their ballots in the largest recall election in the state's history. So much is at stake, and we are proud of the hard work of our members, men and women alike, who spent countless hours volunteering both on the ground and on the phones, educating people about the impact of Governor Scott Walker's reckless agenda on labor, on women, and on the working families of Wisconsin.

You already know the amazing story of how these elections came to be. Walker and his allies in the state legislature ignited a national firestorm when they passed a budget slashing education by $800 million, assaulting workers' rights, and attacking health care -- all while giving huge tax breaks to corporations and the super rich.

But the people of Wisconsin weren't silent. They fought back. And today, six Republican senators face recall. In five of those six races, their challengers are strong, Democratic women: Nancy Nusbaum, Sandy Pasch, Shelly Moore, Jessica King and Jennifer Shilling.

Many groups have tried to paint this election as a one-issue referendum. But the people of Wisconsin know better. They see the bigger picture and understand that today is about our core Democratic principles: the ability of workers to negotiate for fair wages, the rights of women to care for themselves and their children, the ability for families to put food on their table, and the prioritization of education.

Progressive women have stepped up to lead in these races because women's leadership is vital to protecting the very things -- like labor and education -- that Walker and his allies are attacking.

The public employees who Republicans are targeting are unionized fields with primarily female memberships. Teachers are 75% female. Nurses are 95%. Groups exempt from Walker's attacks such as firefighters and police officers are predominantly male -- but our brothers and sisters in labor are out there together because they understand the stakes.

And they're supported by a national network of folks who want to help.

Last week, we had a record-breaking number of men and women from all over sign-up for the Team EMILY, where tens of thousands of calls were made to voters in Wisconsin during the national call-in night.

We have a lot to be proud of, from the working people of Wisconsin having the strength and courage to stand up and fight back against a governor and legislature that prioritizes corporate interests over bread-and-butter issues of working families, to the incredible bravery of the women who threw their hats in the ring to take back the Wisconsin Senate.

Today is about our fight: women, labor, the progressive movement. We've come together to support the policies that made this country great -- and the idea that we all do better, when we all do better.