scott-walker-unions

Governor Scott Walker may be a new marvel to cable news, but he is certainly no stranger to Wisconsin politics. Scott K. Walker, son of a Baptist preacher, began his political career in the early 1990s when he ran for an Assembly seat in the State Legislature. Even as a young legislator in his twenties, Walker took a hard-line, penny-wise approach to labor unions.  During a debate in 1993, Walker advocated reforming union laws that oversaw local government labor disputes.  Little did he know that his career in Milwaukee politics would be tested and weighed by his exchange with those very laws.

After nine years in the State Legislature, Scott Walker campaigned for Milwaukee County Executive – a seat that no Republican in Wisconsin has ever occupied. But Milwaukee County was recently rocked by a massive pension scandal - one that had given away six-figure backdrops to hundreds of public employees.  The area was ripe for a new breed of leadership, and Walker’s message of frugality and fiscal reform seemed to reverberate with the voters. In 2002, Milwaukee County elected Scott Walker, the first ever Republican County Executive.

As Executive, Walker’s skirmishes with unions began shortly after he promised he would balance county budgets without raising property taxes. Without counting on these revenue-raising mechanisms, Walker had to lean on the county workforce for program cuts.

In 2003, Detractors accused Walker of ginning up a false fiscal crisis in order to justify slashing budget items. Drumming up false budgetary crises became a perennial charge against Walker, so he didn’t waste opportunities to remind them that unfunded pension liabilities threatened the solvency of their county government.

In 2006, the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) – Walker’s nemesis in all budgetary matters - criticized Walker for what they called a “Sky is Falling Tour.” A few months later (ironically), the Greater Milwaukee Committee – a private sector civic organization – released a damaging report recommending a state takeover of Milwaukee County's finances due to their daunting health care and pension costs.

In late 2006, Walker made headlines when he decided to veto the entire counter-budget proposed by the Milwaukee County Board. Walker vetoed it because the County Board had restored 125 jobs that his budget had planned to cut. A verbal battle ensued starting with Walker blaming the County Board for caving in to union pressure.  The County Board explained they partially restored those jobs to entice unions to come to the negotiating table.  That didn’t work. Rich Abelson, President of AFSCME’s Council 48, was so angered that he promised to start recall campaigns on every County Supervisor that failed to fully fund those positions. Abelson said, “We know who they are, and we won’t forget.”

In 2009, Walker’s battle with Milwaukee’s biggest union resulted in successfully privatizing the County Courthouse’s housekeeping. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel characterized his victory as “half a loaf” since the County Board thwarted Walker’s attempt to privatize the County Courthouse security as well. A few months later, Walker stunned the Board by invoking emergency budget powers in order to privatize those security jobs anyway. His authority was later challenged by AFSCME and reversed by arbitrator Amedeo Greco, who ordered Milwaukee County to rehire the guards they had fired with months of back pay.

In eight years as Milwaukee County Executive, Scott Walker learned a lot about how local governments work. While taking on a formidable Democrat machine in Milwaukee, Walker experienced some bumps and bruises, but he had some victories under his belt too.  He learned that there was more to balancing a government budget than fiscal wisdom.  Every budgetary choice made by Scott Walker involving cuts was bucked, in one way or another, by AFSCME.

The year that best summarized Walker’s saga with local labor was probably 2010. As the 2008-2009 Great Recession hit the country, Milwaukee County's tax base felt the pinch. Walker called for an aggressive strategy of employee wage cuts and increased benefit contributions. AFSCME refused to accept those concessions provoking Walker to order layoffs and furloughs for hundreds of county workers.  The exchange typified the continuing narrative that is Scott Walker.

At no point during Walker’s eight year tenure did AFSCME recognize the financial impact the pension scandal had upon Milwaukee County. In short, Milwaukee County’s Pension Board - without so much as a cost study on pension benefits - passed ultra-lucrative pension buy-backs to hundreds of employees. Almost in a day, Milwaukee County government found herself mired in a $60 million hole without a viable exit strategy.

Instead of acknowledging the county’s fiscal woes, AFSCME fought Walker every step of the way. Walker took his story to the public explaining that 48% of the county budget was spent on wages and benefits.  He also explained that more concessions were necessary to narrow their $10 million budget gap. Ultimately, AFSCME refused to make any concessions prompting Walker to order 22 furlough days for nearly 1,500 county employees. In a rare display of solidarity, the County Board put their firm support behind Walker’s decision in the hope it would prod the county’s largest union to be reasonable. That never happened.

Rich Abelson , President of AFSCME’s Council 48, said “His [Walker] union-busting attitude shouldn’t surprise anybody.” In some sense, Abelson was right. As the County Executive, Walker may not have tried to “bust” unions, but he fought them tooth and nail for eight years on issues such as privatizations, program cuts, furloughs, and on employee givebacks. Walker always put the taxpayers first going toe to toe with Abelson every time.

Walker is no newbie when it comes to collective bargaining. He has eight years of experience standing up to labor unions in the most liberal county in the state; seemingly, Walker was bred for this moment in history. He has always believed that the services provided by governments must be defined by the taxpayers’ ability to pay. It was a dogma that served Walker well.

During Walker’s tenure, he reduced the size of the county workforce by 20%, decreased the county debt by 10%, and did it all without raising the property tax levy from the previous year. According to Moody’s, Walker’s “strong management and prudent budgetary controls” strengthened the county bond rating for future investing. Nobody would argue that Milwaukee County’s fiscal health is without ailment or disease, but there is no doubt that Walker left the county in a healthier state from which he had first found it.

Comments (37)
  • LL  - What Wasn't In This...

    You forgot to mention that during his tenure there, he also returned $370K total of his salary during his 8 years (for the first few years, he gave back $60K/yr, half his salary). It can be verified at the Journal Sentinel's Politifacts site.

  • Not So Fast  - Not So Fast

    While Scott Walker was County Executive the Milwaukee County property tax levy did in fact go up, almost year after year. He might not have proposed to raise it, but it certainly did happen while he was in office. He benefited in future budgets from the increased revenue provided by the previous tax increases.

    I think there is plenty of debate around if he left Milwaukee County in better shape than when he started. Read the Public Policy Forum report of the coming fiscal challenges that were not fully addressed during his time in office. Scary stuff.

    http://www.publicpolicyforum.org/pdfs/MilwaukeeCountyFiscalCondition.pdf

    He also presided over the issuance of $400 million in pension obligation bonds, something worth keeping an eye on as if it doesn't work out the County's pension obligations will be even greater than they are now (which the PPF rates as a legitimate threat to the fiscal health of the County).

  • TerryN  - Why I like Walker

    "Walker always put the taxpayers first going toe to toe with Abelson every time."

    Good post.

  • Michael  - When a contract is not a contract

    So a contract is always a contract - as when Wall St. execs needed to be paid huge bonuses after they'd created the 2008 crash - except apparently when the beneficiaries are unionized workers. Then it's made to be broken.

    Public employees negotiate their salaries+benefits in good faith, and pay their own required contributions. But according to "conservatives", if the government renegs by failing to keep up with the needed pension contributions, then it's the victims' fault...because they're unionized (or something). The public employees should just carry the entire burden created by the government's fecklessness/bad faith, why can't everybody see that? Heaven forbid that taxes might have to be raised just because some silly contract exists to the benefit of ordinary working Americans!

    Chiz. Most bizarre thing about this post is that it ignores the elephant in the room: the union already offered the huge concessions that Walker said he needed, giving up benefits they have coming to help the state balance its budget. But Walker won't accept that kind of victory unless he can also crush the union permanently.

  • Verlyn  - Where has all the 'Stimulus" money gone

    I haven't checked the stats for Milwaukee County, but I'm sure they would match the WI satate and Portage County Stats.

    WI and Portage County allocated approximately one half of their stimulus money for education. AS near as I can tell it all went to teachers. Some were current teachers some were speacial needs teachers and some were hired to fill shortages. The stimulus did indeed 'save' all these teacher positions.

    That allowed Doyle to perform his slight of hand on the state budget. He still had to a $2.2B badget repair bill in the dark of night.

  • Ron  - Hey You

    Go Scott Go

  • Anonymous  - COURAGE

    The simple conclusion and observation is that Scott Walker has COURAGE. We have not seen this for YEARS from government servants. They play politics. Look at the Republican Congress now. (I hope I'm wrong.) Weak-knee'd. Didn't they get the tea party message? Don't they see the unconstitutionality of what is going on in this country. Obamacare continues to be implemented. Drilling permits not issued even after the Judge ruled his drilling ban unconstitutional. Now calling a bill passed by the U.S. Congress unconstitutional. We are witnessing a totally lawless federal government.

    In Wisconsin they are following suit with unlawful demonstrations:
    1. illegal for teachers to strike
    2. writing false "sick notes" illegal and maybe fraud
    3. Governor Dean establishing a slush fund for AWOL Democrats
    4. Not illegal--but certainly a threat to Democracy.

    Who else of the Republicans get it?
    We are waiting for more Walkers and more Christies. COURAGE seems to be in short supply.

  • KristenSanFran  - Problems with Gov Walker's Previous Union Busting

    I have been watching the Wisconsin union issue from another state, and I believe that one of the problems is a lack of transparency in the budget repair bill that Governor Walker is trying to pass. I actually got a copy of the budget repair bill which is 144 pages long. And I agree with some of the Wisconsin protesters that there are several issues in addition to the attempt to remove collective bargaining.

    The Wisconsin Democrats - congressman and senators - keep claiming that they were not given the bill until the very last minute. To be fair, Gov. Walker says he met with them to brief the Dem leaders on the bill, but from what I read - it would be hard to summarize this bill.

    I have also researched Walkers campaign site and it does say that he wanted to negotiate with the unions - but it does not say that he wanted to eliminate collective bargaining. And saying that people should know that he has a history of union busting as justification, is not a reasonable argument. Three unions endorsed him, he must have presented something positive to win their trust.

    Recent except from the Ironton Tribune about past mishandling of union issues plus replacing fired union members with British company (http://goo.gl/JVEOK):

    "Success for Scott Walker in union busting, and done as a fiscal crisis…just as he would later declare a fiscal crisis in the state is requiring him to break unions there forever. Well, maybe not quite success.

    As it turns out Walker exceeded his authority as county executive and offered no evidence in support of the claimed fiscal crisis. His firings were overturned and the union security guards were returned to their jobs. The entire fiasco cost the county about half a million dollars.

    In an interesting sidebar, Walker had hired a United Kingdom company to privatize the security jobs. Yes, you read that correctly. He fired Wisconsin citizens to hire foreign workers to be paid with citizen tax dollars. The company he hired, Wackenhut, hired a head of courthouse security with a criminal record."

    People will usually sacrifice, but they do not want to be kept in the dark about what is happening.

    Is it fair to be treated like children that cannot be trusted to help solving the problem?

  • betsp

    Do the people protesting at the statehouse look like reasonable adults to you? I think calling them children would be accurate and kind.

  • Justyn  - Com'n, be honest... Dont misrepresent the facts..

    "Walker had hired a United Kingdom company to privatize the security jobs. Yes, you read that correctly. He fired Wisconsin citizens to hire foreign workers to be paid with citizen tax dollars."

    Be honest, you're misrepresenting the facts here. Just because the company was based out of the UK, doesn't mean that the security guard were also from the UK. As what happens with ALL companies that are not located in the same place, someone is designated to hire LOCAL citizens to provide security.

  • PFOBacon  - Last time I checked, Mazda

    .....was still a Japanese car company.. Tell your state AWOL senators to buy a Ford next time!

  • Grace  - Cut wages and benefits, mopping floors

    Firing the Courthouse security staff to give their jobs to a profit-making company which cut salaries and benefits is just one action against the people who keep the economy going buy spending their money in their community. Now an arbitrator has said the security people had been illegally fired. So now the county is paying twice for every security job.
    In fact the Journal Sentinel concludes that none of the savings that Walker promised will ever materialize and they supported him for governor.
    His problems with the union had a lot to do with his refusal to talk with them. Same thing he's doing now.
    I like his speeches. He says all the right things then does whatever he wants. He apparently sees no discontinuity nor does he have any shame.
    When he hired a private firm to clean the County buildings, the union County employees found out that they were to be fired right after the first of the year, they just didn't come back to work. So, the heavily used buildings got dirty, public restrooms got dirty. The new lower paid cleaning crews were not going to start for a month. So Walker said he expected County employees (like the attorneys in the DA's office) to keep the buildings clean. Not just picking up after themselves but cleaning the public areas. Mopping floors, unstopping toilets, emptying large trash containers, etc. Would you rather have an assistant DA prosecuting the guy who mugged you? Or mopping the floor?
    Walker's budgets were scams. He looked for ways to get a revenue hit or tax savings in the current year that simply did not work. That's one reason why the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel says his savings for the County will never materialize.
    How do I know? I ran a department while Scott was County Exec. He told his department heads that he didn't want to hear how worthwhile a program was. He wanted photo ops.
    People did not listen when those of us who worked for Milwaukee County warned them about him. Now they see.

  • Anonymous  - What?

    The money is still going into the pockets of a foreign company owned by foreigners! Im sure their making a profit too...... Id rather have the workers get that extra money and have them spend it hear.... That is a betrayal by our elected officials and people need to wake up! Immigration is a big issue and this is diverting our attention, the new question is, wheather Scott Walker is opening the doors for cheap low cost labor that the super wealthy will benefit from and the intentional impoverish of more americans for his wealthy buddies? Services will be provided but always at a cost and its much better to keep the money here and not going to some foreign company or power! Their is one question that has to be asked! Did Scott Walker strive for this position to benefit only himself and to gain favor from the wealthy? What are his true motives? I dont think he truly cares about Wisconsin or about the budget..... People need to wake up, they are hearing what they want to hear and these politicians know this, tell the people what they want to hear to gain office then betray them once there! Scott Walker is a sellout to the elite at everyones expense......

  • Anonymous  - hypocrite

    As a school teacher, a state employee, I am proud of the much needed changes Walker has made. I am loosing no money after his budget plan. You are a hypocritical union puppet that is only worried about benefitting yourself.

  • Anonymous  - The Walkout is illegal since it interferes with a

    Dear Governor Walker,

    I’m from New York and I fully support you (even thought I can’t vote for you)! You are simply doing what all the other governors, including New York’s governor will be forced to do shortly. Taxpayers who work in the private sector can no longer afford to pay for the astronomical salaries, benefits, and penchants of the members of the public unions. When the servants are paid more than the masters (taxpayers) then we have guaranteed inevitable bankruptcy. All we ask-- is for fairness and that can only be accomplished through cuts in public employee compensation so that pay parity is achieved with the private sector.

    Governor, one of the local citizens should go to the local District Attorney of or the Attorney General and file a criminal complaint on the Senators who refuse to return to work as they are willfully, without a legitimate excuse, obstructing governmental administration by preventing the Senate from taking a vote as there is no quorum.

    Furthermore, the same citizen should go to the their local US Attorney’s office and file a criminal complaint on the Senators who refuse to return to work since such willful, unjustified conduct is depriving the citizens of Wisconsin a republican form of government as guaranteed by the US Constitution, Article IV. Or, the Republican Senators should go into federal court and seek a court order asking that the judge to issue an injunction requiring that the derelict Senators return to work. If such an order is issued and the Senators refuse to return to work, they will then be held in contempt. Obviously, the only thing the order could require is that the Senators show-up for work but it could not tell them how to vote.

    By refusing to tend to the People’s business, a minority of the Senators are hindering and obstructing the Senate from operating as without the Senators there is no quorum as required to hold a vote on such financial matters. In a republican form of government it is majority rules, not tyranny of the minority.

    Thank you for your commonsense and courage!

  • Adam Jefferson  - Things You Need to Know About the Uprising in Wisc

    Wisconsin's public workers have already "made sacrifices to help balance the budget, through 16 unpaid furlough days and no pay increases the past two years," according to the Associated Press. The unions know their members are going to have to make concessions on benefits, but they rightly see the assault on their fundamental right to negotiate as an act of war.

    This isn't just about public employees. What even a majority of the protesters don't know is that Walker's law would also place all of the state's Medicaid funding in the hands of the governor. State senator Jon Erpenbach, D-Middleton -- one of the Dem law-makers who fled the state to block a vote on the bill -- told local media that this amounted to "substantial Medicaid changes" that put "the governor, all of a sudden... in charge of Medicaid, which is SeniorCare, which is BadgerCare ...and he has never once said what he intends to do” with those programs. But the provision led journalist Suzie Madrak to conclude that "the end game for all this is to defund state Medicaid programs and make it impossible to serve as part of the new health care safety net."

    What’s happening in Wisconsin is, instead, a power grab — an attempt to exploit the fiscal crisis to destroy the last major counterweight to the political power of corporations and the wealthy. And the power grab goes beyond union-busting. The bill in question is 144 pages long, and there are some extraordinary things hidden deep inside.

    For example, the bill includes language that would allow officials appointed by the governor to make sweeping cuts in health coverage for low-income families without having to go through the normal legislative process.

    And then there’s this: “Notwithstanding ss. 13.48 (14) (am) and 16.705 (1), the department may sell any state-owned heating, cooling, and power plant or may contract with a private entity for the operation of any such plant, with or without solicitation of bids, for any amount that the department determines to be in the best interest of the state. Notwithstanding ss. 196.49 and 196.80, no approval or certification of the public service commission is necessary for a public utility to purchase, or contract for the operation of, such a plant, and any such purchase is considered to be in the public interest and to comply with the criteria for certification of a project under s. 196.49 (3) (b).”

    What’s that about? The state of Wisconsin owns a number of plants supplying heating, cooling, and electricity to state-run facilities (like the University of Wisconsin). The language in the budget bill would, in effect, let the governor privatize any or all of these facilities at whim. Not only that, he could sell them, without taking bids, to anyone he chooses. And note that any such sale would, by definition, be “considered to be in the public interest.”

  • J.Behling  - Jimbo

    Interesting analysis. Privitization of all that is possible and allowing competition to drive price is the basis on which our previous thriving economy was built. Go Scott GO!! Should we also be looking at privitazation (through asset sales)of other services including local services like county highway maintenence, facility custodial services, information technology services etc. etc.....? If done properly and WITHOUT THE POLITICAL GRAFT inherent in the bid for favors system that has always plagued government, these approaches represent a lot of potential savings to our taxpayers.

  • TerryN

    How come allowing state workers the freedom to choose if they want to pay union dues is called union busting? If the workers really feel the unions are really representing them they will gladly pay the dues.

  • C. Moreing  - From California

    In my state We are facing $500,000 million in Unfunded pension liabilities. The current gov. Jerry Brown was the one who gave Collective Bargaining to the Public Emp.Unions here. Now that he is back in office it is hard to say if he will continue the same, We here have forced Unionization, If one chooses to work for the local or state Gov't you have to pay union dues whether one wants to or not or you do not get paid, i ask is that not a violation of one's right!
    Now if the same situation exists in Wi. then the Basic rights of the Individual is threatened. IMO this is not about busting Unions it is about a restoration of ones right to choose, if one chooses to have union representation of labor then fine but should there not also be a choice for one to not be represented by the union and work for the same?
    I realize that the budgetary amounts is not the same in Wi. as to Ca. there is a difference in Population size, but the premise it the same.
    Now in all that i have been reading about this Has there been one word said that these PEU's can or cannot still operate in the state NO! not one word

  • Annie  - Go Scott Go!

    Let me repeat...it is not about the children! Why do you think the Union in WI and all over the country are screaming bloody murder, fabricating smears campaigns, paying off the astroturf Wisconsin Badger students to beat the drums? Follow the money...it is all about the boodle! They do not want to stop the taxpayer gravy train in any way shape or form!
    Courage Governor Walker...stay the course...you are holding the line for the people of Wisconsin who elected you and when this battle is over, many, many more taxpayers across the country!

  • Angry Dad  - The Racket

    Because the government has a legal obligation to keep the pension system solvent, it has an unlimited liability. The sins of underfunding will always fall back on the taxpayers in this type of system. Public unions will always negotiate for lower employee contributions when the economy is good then fight against increased contributions when times turn bad. This guarantees that taxpayers will perpetually have to make up the shortfalls when pensions go through their underfunded periods.

    This is the reason why the public unions in Wisconsin are fighting so hard against the loss of collective bargaining rights over benefits. If pension contributions are no longer a negotiable item, pensions will have to be managed in such a way that they represent fiscal and actuarial reality. The folly of pension spiking and retirements at 45 will become very apparent to employees when they are forced to bear their share of the cost and not transfer them to taxpayers when times get tough.

    The public unions know that Governor Walker is wise to their racket. They are trumpeting that they are willing to "sacrifice" and pay more now, but this is only until the next contract negotiations when they will cry about all they gave up last time in order to drop their contributions back down again. Hopefully taxpayers are finally getting a good idea of how this racket works.

  • Michael  - Keep the pensions solvent?

    You seemed to be avoiding the fact that state governments frequently don't bother to keep their pension funds solvent. They defer. They make wildly improbable forcasts of pension fund earnings, often based on hugely risky investments. It's just a game for those who are nominally responsible for the funds because the bills will come due at some later date under somebody else's watch. And when the bills do come due, they anticipate that the blame for the pension deficits will likely fall on the workers themselves, who will be forced by events to give up what they bargained for in good faith. Because it's so much easier, and so satisfying for your average John Q. Blowhard, to beat up on unions than to admit that nobody wanted to raise the taxes needed to keep the pensions truly solvent.

  • Todd  - Angry Parent- The anti racket

    You are probably one of the angry parent who expects their child to be provided a quality education, no matter what teacher's have to contend with. the Kind of angry parent who start's blaming a teacher when the child doesn't get enough attention or isn't learning enough. Stop and think, you take a classroom of 28 kids a few which are high needs and make sure each of them are learning at full capacity. Then take away things like textbooks, and art supplies, and science supplies and explain to the parent's why thier kids are not getting enough attention. Then take away the right to negotiate the classroom sizes (could be 38 next year) and to negotiate hours and ciriculum. Do you think there will be more "Angry Parents" when the teacher start having to teach on Saturdays? Then you get looked in the eye and told you do not provide a public service like policemen and fire fighter's do. But to show our gratitude for being the teacher of our future politicians, we are going to give you the oppourtunity to give 8% of your salary to hlep pay the debt for all of WI. Wait there's more! you must meet state set credentials for grades or you'll get the axe! and do this with $900,000,000 less. WI. currently ranks #2 in ACT/SAT scores. Do your research, look where the state without collective barganing rank? Hint, start at #50. By now your saying to yourself, this guy has to be a teacher. Wrong. I am a middle age, white male, who works in the private sector. I have been at my current position for 5.5 years. My salary with benefits (My company matches what I put in for retirement) is more than what my wife's salary with benefits is. My wife has been an elementary school teacher for 22 years. I agree they can contribute to their benefits. Heck, I even think they should give up some, but not all, of their barganing rights? I also agree their is a small percentage of teacher's who take advantage of being a teacher. However, folk's seem to think just because there are a few bad apples, the whole bushell of apples is bad and must be thought of as garbage? For every bad apple(teacher) I will give you a thousand good apples. So where are the cut's in the school district going to come from? District will have to start cutting extraciricular activities. They will cut programs such as, Future Business Leader's Association, Band ensambles, Debate teams, chess club, etc. ect. No problem, you say, my child doesn't participate in any of those. Next will come breakfast and lunches. But there is still a large deficit. Next will come the lessor attended sports, Volleyball, soccer, I don't know, badmitten, track, swimming, etc. etc. Do you ever think they would cut the holly grails? Baseball, softball, Footbal, Basketball? I don't think so either. But I can envision it happening in smaller,D5 and below, districts. I also can envision parent's having to pay a hefty price to have their child play on a team. It's happening already! Some of the best athlete's will have poverty stricken parent's and won't get to play. Lastly, I leave you with this. If you think us in the private sector won't get hammered as well in this budget repair bill, you are gravely mistaken! Let's say the public employee cut's will save $700,000,000 in the next 3 years. Walker claims the deficit will be $3.6 billion over the same time period. Where is the $2.3 billion going to come from? Wait, Walker didn't say anything about that when he was campaining, he wouldn't/couldn't do that. That's what the union's thought! Now this is something you can be an angry parent about!!!

  • Grace  - who pays pensions??

    Employees in public service pay their pension benefits with the money they earn -- not taxes.
    Every penny I saved while working has got to support me now. Get the facts first.

  • neomom  - Really?

    Last I heard, most public employees in WI pay 0.2% or less of their pensions. If you are a teacher in Milwaukee, the school district pays both the employer and employee contributions for both the state plan and the local plan.

    It is also irrelavent that politicians of both parties didn't keep paying into the funds so now they are very underfunded. They had more important votes to buy with public money. No more than it was my Dad's fault when the union he used to work for pissed away everything in the fund he supposedly had and now gets exactly nothing. It is what it is now. The money tree has died.

    The employees didn't bargain in good faith. They spent a lot of money to get people they like elected so that those "negotiations" would be very beneficial to them. At least in the private sector, the unions know that if they ask for too much, the company will go out of business (unless you are politically connected like GM and Chrysler) . A public union has no such issue. The government will never go "out of business" so they simply keep demanding more.

  • PFOBacon  - They took my Vote!

    If you weren't aware, the 14 State Senators are going to hold out until the end of Walker's term in office, how ever long that will be. I have heard there is a recall of Scott Walker, and without Voter ID being passed either, you can bet your britches that it's going to be a tough battle going up against those Commies/ Unions! There will be FRAUD, and Voter Intimidation, including Threats, Property Crime, and the like that we have seen from Commies and Union Thugs in the past!!

    And now, because we are playing it by the rules, and not going after those traitors, my VOTE that I cast at the ballot box back in November is being ....how did Lena Taylor call it... "Expunged from the record".. Yeah, my vote has been Expunged thanks to her and the other 13 for that!!! How dare they have this POWER, and stop us from passing the bill??!! I voted, does that mean anything to these back-stabbers of Democracy??!!

    :angry:

  • neomom  - @ PFO Bacon

    They can't recall Governor Walker until 2012 and voter ID can most certainly be in place. They don't need the quorum in the State Senate for non-budgetary bill, a simple majority will do.

  • Keri

    The only problem with that is that Walker cannot be recalled until he had help office for a year, unlike 12 of the 14 missing Democrats. There are already recall petitions going for at least 3 of them that narrowly won their districts, so I would bet that one of them gets recalled much sooner than Walker does.

  • Anonymous  - Pass New Laws

    The remaining representatives in Wisconsin should immediately pass a non-budget law that expressing reads, "If anyone representative or senator intentionally and voluntarily leaves the capital when the legislature is in session will be removed from office, and a new representative will be appointed by the governor for the remainder of his/her term." This can be effective starting March 3, 2011. I bet they would come back in a full run....The bloody cowards...

  • Chris  - Republicans up for recall too!

    There is also a lot of Republican senators up for recall that us that support our FAB-14 are willing to sign!!!!!!!! U people shouldn't get too cocky yet!

  • Anonymous

    Frankly, most politicians are douche bags, only wanting to get reelected, I mean there are 12% of Unions left in the US, I agree with him on trimming the budget and asking "Everyone" to do there part but i find this to be more of a political move than a fiscal one. I guess if education is in the shitter, go after the teachers. LOL Oh, yeah and I am a Republican and I don't agree with is strong armed tactics.

  • R.J. Intindola  - hired a foreign contractor with local tax dollars?

    Quite simply, I find it appalling that anyone could respect him if he really hired a foreign contractor with local community tax dollars and took jobs away from local citizens. In the end, I understand the county had to pay double the money because his actions were deemed inappropriate by an arbitrator. The problem with his supporters is that they forget all the mistakes.Additionally, from what I've read on the interne,t including the Huffington Post, he never mentioned busting the union during his campaign. Now he is saying it was mentioned several times. Who is lying. Doesn't Walker have a history of telling small fibs and leaving out critical facts on certain issues. In the end, that's what you get Wisconsin voters for letting someone who dropped out of college and lacks the simple common sense required to be a quality manager. I understand his disapproval rating has soared to 54%. If the election was tomorrow, he would lose.

    PS-is it not true that the assembly also did away with the rights of teachers to establish and negotiate working conditions. Get ready people of Wisconsin; your class sizes are about to make it impossible for the teachers to appropriately teach.

  • Anonymous  - What if he did not fight the unions

    Even if it's true that property taxes were raised imagine what would have happened if he hadn't fought the evil AFSCME tactics? When was the last time a union leader gave back part of their salary?

    Michael wrote:
    So a contract is always a contract - as when Wall St. execs needed to be paid huge bonuses after they'd created the 2008 crash - except apparently when the beneficiaries are unionized workers. Then it's made to be broken.

    Public employees negotiate their salaries+benefits in good faith, and pay their own required contributions. But according to "conservatives", if the government renegs by failing to keep up with the needed pension contributions, then it's the victims' fault...because they're unionized (or something). The public employees should just carry the entire burden created by the government's fecklessness/bad faith, why can't everybody see that? Heaven forbid that taxes might have to be raised just because some silly contract exists to the benefit of ordinary working Americans!

    Chiz. Most bizarre thing about this post is that it ignores the elephant in the room: the union already offered the huge concessions that Walker said he needed, giving up benefits they have coming to help the state balance its budget. But Walker won't accept that kind of victory unless he can also crush the union permanently.
  • Nielsen  - Not a leader

    No one has pointed to the fact that Scott Walker is not a leader. Being able to negotiate represents a position of strength and builds unity. Walker is a bully and he is concentrating power in his office. Are your memories of history so short that you forget what that kind of power creates? The Constitution provides for a balance of power for a reason...Walker is breaking his State by creating discord. Think about it, who does that serve? He puts the focus on State workers while his own hand is involved in the sale of Wisconsin. You love this bully? You will see. If he is willing to do this to State workers...those who serve the people of Wisconsin...somewhere down the line you are next. Bullying is based on fear and fear is not a sustainable quality of leadership. Scott Walker is not a leader.

  • Anonymous  - We are resilient...

    I'm a PE union member, not by choice, but it has it's benefits and costs.. That said, it's amazing to me that many union members can't realize that the bonehead union leaders are not working for the members' interests, but working for the fortification of the machine.... We should have conceded collective bargaining limitations instantly, it's not that big of a deal. The union should have been focused on reducing the compensation reductions of it's members... The bosses are only focused on how they will have to collect my dues, that I never wanted to pay in the first place...

  • kretired  - Brown County State, Local Gov Employees to pay $49

    To all the local business owners applauding Gov Walker's moves to have these employees pay their fair share, I am afraid you will be shocked come September when you businesses will notice fewer dollars in the till. The pension and Ins money will be leaving the community for parts unknown. Where in the budget repair bill does it say any savings will go to help current small businesses in our communities. Gov Walker has proclaimed "Wisconsin is Open For Business". Wisconsin has good businesses now and declaring wetlands a new buildable site for a campaign contributor for a new business is a discredit to the current businesses. Did Gov Walker already claim there are 10000 new jobs in WI? Is he counting the jobs he saved as new?

  • downwithcollectivebullying  - down with collective bullying

    I would like to know more of the details of what happened in the sweetheart deal between the then Democratic Milwaukee County supervisor during 2001. At the time, I was busy out of town, returned to Milwaukee and saw people with petitions to recall executive Thomas Ament.
    I never followed it too much, but knew it would be a problem for Milwaukee county for years to come. I learned later that Ament received a lump sum payout of over one million dollars, plus a very nice monthly payment for the rest of his life. I learned that he and the unions had rushed through a contract with lots of fine print and before the wink of an eye, the public was wondering what had hit them.
    I had been a Milw. County employee and union member most of my life, but, luckily, did not get in on that hefty contract. I would not want to be involved in such a grand theft of our community. As a taxpayer I feel worried and somewhat violated.
    How can anyone blame Walker for any budget when the unions are sucking the life-blood out of the budget. I have lived with the union. They have done some good, but the bad most definitely outweighs the good. I didn't see one bit of union concern about Milwaukee county services. Where I worked, we lived with bad behavior, which the unions supported. It was a way of life with the unions.

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