Scott (rewarder of supporters/donors and punisher of opponents) Walker (R - Gov, FitzWalkerStan) opened his mouth and some words fell out that he's trying to walk back. Oops!
Two and a half years after mostly sparing police officers and firefighters from his union restrictions, Gov. Scott Walker said this week he is open to the idea of limiting their ability to collectively bargain.Oops!
Such a move would go against one of the few sets of unions where he has found support. The unions for Milwaukee officers and firefighters endorsed Walker in 2010 and the 2012 attempt to recall him from office.
But a day after broaching the subject of expanding his collective bargaining rules, Walker downplayed the comments, saying he had simply made "an observation" in response to a question. He said he is not pursing the issue.
"There isn't a specific proposal I'm pushing," Walker told reporters Tuesday.
He said he made his remarks on Monday because the subject may come up in future legislative discussions, primarily because the passage of Act 10 did not lead state workers to walk off the job or incite violence as some in Madison predicted.
For a guy who rehearses and then spews talking points and memes with the smoothness of a skilled used car salesman trying to sell you a heap of future misery, stuff like this just doesn't happen.
Here are the words that fell from his pie hole while addressing a gathering of the Governmental Research Association:
"I think now for those areas, having seen that the world didn't come to an end for all your municipal employees and county employees, there might be a greater opening going forward because they'd say, 'Hey things worked out,'" Walker said.Yeah, the world didn't come to an end, so let's just move forward and screw those unions that were exempted from the public employee union busting measures of Act 10. And those were the firefighters and police unions who, by the way, endorsed Walker.
Yeah, I know he says it's was because of "public safety" except that it really wasn't. Not everyone involved with "public safety" were exempted. Folks like prison guards and the State Capitol Police lost their union representation under Act 10. Turns out the only ones who didn't were Walker endorsing unions.
And now, he's let it slip that he's going after them, too. Yes, he's walking that back, but we've got a window into his future, and now likely delayed, intentions and they don't look good for his "union friends" - the only public unions that endorsed him.
There was a telling moment in the PBS documentary "As Goes Janesville" where Scott Walker is filmed talking to Wisconsin billionaire plutocrat Diane Hendricks about his "divide and conquer" strategy of union busting. Another window into his intentions that now looks prophetic.
Yes, he tried to divide public employees from private union workers and divided most public employees from his friends in the police and firefighters unions. Happily, it didn't work. The solidarity shown by union members from the bricklayers, to the building trades (who brought a whole truck full of brats even on Day1 to feed hungry protesters), to the brewery workers, to the painters, to the firefighters, all our fellow union members, it brought us together in ways previously unimaginable.
And that gave Scott Walker and his GOP band of Not So Merry Men quite a sad and that still makes me smile.
So now it seems they're planning to move forward (for informed Wisconsinites that now means "backwards") in their divide and conquer strategy. And the head of the Milwaukee Police union, a huge Walker supporter, is already grumbling how that would change their future endorsement plans to the detriment of Walker.
Act 10 has been devastating in its effect. Huge losses of union members have led to the closure of our local union newspaper, The Milwaukee Labor Press, and the cancellation of this years Labor Fest. It has diminished revenues to public employee unions, decreasing their future impact on elections, and enabled towns, cities, and counties to balance their budgets on the backs of their workers.
It has peeled 13 - 18 % of the take home pay of public employees, forcing many into foreclosureship of their homes, and the economic impact of less money circulating in communities has brought about business closures and unemployment as well as a declining tax base (along with vastly decreased state shared revenue). Many communities are now grating their roads turning once paved roads into old time gravel roads because they can't afford to maintain them.
Friends of Scott Walker, like his charter school and mining donors, couldn't ask for more (and if they did, they'd most certainly get it). It's the rest of us watching our once fine and proud state diminish into third world status that are now singing the song from Annie "It's a Hard Knock Life".
Update: Some good news. It seems that the longstanding labor dispute with Palermos Pizza is ending in favor of the workers. 8 workers who were fired for supporting a union will be re-hired with back pay and Palermos has asked the National Labor Relations Board to set a date for a union election.
In the negotiated settlement, Palermos doesn't admit to any fault (i.e. blatant union busting).
Their previous actions, such as firing workers for supporting a union, led to boycotts of Palermos products and multiple picketing events.
This is good news.
Update: A story on how Scott Walkers day just keeps getting worse that's so good it needed a diary of its own.
I apologize for posting 2 diaries today, but adding the latest revelations would have made this diary incredibly too long.