LA CROSSE, Wis. -- From protesting last February to standing outside of local businesses with recall petitions, union workers have been a major force behind the recall effort.

"I think back in February people were just so outraged with the budget repair bill and the idea of losing collective bargaining that I think it really activated a group of people that may have never been activated before," said American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees local union steward Liza Collins.

Collins has spent the last two months standing outside local businesses encouraging people to sign the recall petition. She says outrage over being stripped of their collective bargaining has gotten union members involved in more political activity than just the recall.

"People are wanting to become involved and be part of the decision-making process for local policy and for policy at the state level. They want to be able to have impact into what happens in their community," said Collins.

La Crosse County Republican Party Chair Bill Feehan says bring it on.

"We know that their side is very energized and so is ours. And we've had no shortage of people to come in and make phone calls. And we're exceeding our goals for phone-calling right now. So I expect that we'll run a great campaign just as Gov. Walker did last time, and I expect to win," said Feehan.

Feehan said the $9 million this recall election is projected to cost, plus the time it will take to verify all the signatures, shows how much the state needs to reform its standards for recall.

"Now we're going to begin a very long and tedious recounting of the signatures to make sure that they're all valid-- hard to tell how long that's going to take," said Feehan.

The Republican Party has recruited more than 5,000 volunteers statewide to double-check the Government Accountability Board's count of valid signatures.

Union leaders said the next step for them is evaluating which candidate they want to challenge Walker.