Gov. Scott Walker delivers his State of the State address to a joint session of the Wisconsin Legislature earlier this month.
Gov. Scott Walker in cash-strapped Wisconsin is pretty sure he’s doing the right thing in trying to ram through a bill ending collective bargaining rights for most public employees. But, just in case, he’s putting the National Guard on alert.
Walker, a Republican who entered office just a month ago, argues that the state’s budgetary concerns preclude union rights and workers’ rights. Democrats and labor leaders call the move a naked power grab.
The anti-union push in Wisconsin is reflective of a larger, nationwide attack on public sector collective bargaining as seen in Indiana, Alabama, Florida and Tennessee.—JCL
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker said Friday he wants to end collective bargaining for nearly all public employees because the state is broke and there’s no point negotiating with the unions when there is nothing to offer.
Union leaders and Democrats, powerless to stop Walker’s plan from passing the Republican-controlled Legislature next week, were reeling. They blasted the proposal as a naked power grab that will gut Wisconsin’s deep organized labor tradition and result in layoffs that devastate the economy.
Walker, a Republican who took office in January, argued that his proposal is an alternative to ordering furlough days and laying off 12,000 state and local public employees over the next two years to balance a $3.6 billion budget shortfall.