Unions Look for Silver Lining in Wisconsin Recalls

By SAM HANANEL | August 10, 2011 | 5:45 PM EDT

Supporters of Jennifer Shilling (D-La Crosse) cheer Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2011 as the winner of the State Senate District 32 winner is announced in La Crosse. (AP Photo/Rory O'Driscoll - La Crosse Tribune)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Union officials say the result in Wisconsin's recall elections should send a stern warning to other lawmakers who might threaten collective bargaining rights.

But unions fell short of their goal by toppling only two of the six GOP state senators they targeted in Tuesday's voting. Some observers say the results show that labor's political clout isn't what it used to be.

The outcome could mean an uphill battle for union plans to take the fight to Ohio, where voters will decide in November whether to repeal that state's law curbing union rights.

Labor leaders insist their strong showing Tuesday bodes well for efforts to recall Wisconsin's Republican governor next year.

Unions poured millions into advertising and grass-roots organizing in Wisconsin and staked the reputation of labor's vaunted get-out-the-vote machine.