SEIU President: 'Future Of Working People ... At Stake' In Wisconsin

If there was any doubt about the importance of Tuesday's gubernatorial recall election in Wisconsin to organized labor, look no further than here:

Mary Kay Henry, president of the SEIU.

hide captionMary Kay Henry, president of the SEIU.

Liz Halloran /NPR

That's Mary Kay Henry, president of the Service Employees International Union, which bills itself as North America's second largest labor union, helping Latino activists on Milwaukee's south side get out the vote Tuesday for Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett. He's the Democrat seeking to oust Republican Gov. Scott Walker.

"I think the future of working people in the country is at stake here," said Henry, who earlier had been canvassing with volunteers in the city's predominantly black north end neighborhoods.

"This is not just a fight around labor, it's a fight about public education, our quality of life as people," she said.

Henry's presence at Voces de la Frontera was also indicative of the importance of Latinos to the future of the labor movement.

"We think all communities of color are incredibly important to the future of the labor movement," she said.

She said if the Democrats fall short in their battle to oust Walker, who, with a majority Republican legislature, passed a law rolling back state public union collective bargaining rights, "labor will keep fighting and use the November election as the next test of our strength."

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