Economy

This Anti-Union Governor Offered His Haters a Union-Made Beer

While Wisconsin governor Scott Walker has long been known for his efforts to destroy unions, he's recently gained a measure of internet notoriety for his Instagram feed, full of pictures depicting the mundane details of his life.

So perhaps it was only a matter of time before these two facets of his public life collided. In recent days, Walker's feed has become a source of amusement for critics, mocking its endless parade of ham and cheese sandwiches, glasses of milk, grinning selfies, and "on the road" pictures. As Wired described it, "[t]he mundanity is chilling, the repetitiveness dizzying, and all of it from a former presidential candidate who ostensibly employs a staff that should know better."  Meanwhile, the AV Club quipped that it represented, "the true existential horror of modern consumer life." 

Walker fired back at his critics with an Instagram picture of a Wisconsin-brewed Miller Lite can and invited "those in the liberal media" who mock his social media feeds to have one. 

In turn, Walker's attempt at firing back was mocked accordingly.

But one Twitter user pointed out something truly ironic in the picture: Miller Lite's cans proudly announce that the beer is "union made."

 

In fact, the Miller Brewing Company's various brands and subsidiaries are almost entirely union operations, with employees in the Milwaukee, Wisconsin brewery represented by the United Auto Workers.

Walker made his name nationally with his fight to gut public sector unions in Wisconsin, working to severely restrict union member collective-bargaining, and institute right-to-work laws that forbid unions from compelling employees to join or pay dues.

Shortly after being elected in 2010, Walker passed Act 10, a law that "dramatically curtailed collective bargaining for most public employees," according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. That law sent union membership in the state plummeting, and stunted salary increases and new hiring for teachers and state workers. It became so controversial that Walker had to survive a recall election just to keep his position. 

While most of his efforts have been against Wisconsin's public sector unions, he's also applied the same laws to private sector unions, like the UAW. As The Washington Post noted, Act 10 "has emboldened Republican state lawmakers to further challenge Wisconsin’s labor movement this year by pushing right-to-work legislation that would allow private-sector workers to opt out of paying union dues." 

So it was no small irony that Walker challenged his opponents to have a beer made by a union that he's attempted to destabilize. And this isn't even the first time Walker has caught flak for extolling the virtues of a union brand. In 2015, as Walker was trying to get his short-lived presidential bid going, he had a habit of posing with Harley-Davidson motorcycles, another brand that proudly announces it's "union made in the USA."

Walker seemed to take the contradiction in stride, and soon offered pictures of cheese curds and microbrews to his critics, while chastising local news outlets for printing stories about him, and not the state's low unemployment rate