Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Why Does Scott Walker Want To Stop The Union Contracts?

Scott Walker, Goobernator-to-be, really, really, really wants to prevent the current lame duck state legislature and governor from approving any contracts with the state's unions.

He sent a notice to the unions, even before the election was held, that they should stop all negotiations (which is a bit of a no-no, by the way).

He also sent a letter to Governor Doyle, asking him not approve any new contracts.

When the unions and Doyle turned a deaf ear to his pleas, he sent another letter to the state legislature asking them to stop the process of approving any contracts.

So why is he so desperate to stop these contracts? The contracts will cover the current budget, the bulk of which he wasn't even governor yet (but was running for governor that whole time, as well as the three budgets before that).

If you listen to Walker, the Fitzgerald boys, or Walker's allies in squawk radio, it's because they are afraid Doyle and the outgoing Democrats will give away the state in lucrative pay raises and benefits.

But that is just empty rhetoric, since we already know that the contracts do not include any pay raises or any increase in benefits.

So why all the hubbub, bub?

If the unions and the state reach an agreement before he takes office it weakens his plan to ruin the state on two fronts.

Walker most likely was planning on "balancing" the state budget and "resolving" the deficit crisis by making up phony savings like he did with Milwaukee County's budget, when he just added all sorts of concessions without even pretending to negotiate for them. Walker's shenanigans has caused the 2010 budget to be in a predicted to be nearly $8 million. The projected deficit for 2011's budget is even worse.

This would put Walker in the awkward position of actually having to make the hard decision regarding the budget. Unlike his tenure as county executive, he won't have a lenient county board to take his messes and clean them up as best they can. With Republicans controlling both the Assembly and the Senate, they would have no one to pin the blame on when the people start calling for heads when their services get cut and the economy starts its downward decent again.

The other issue for Walker is that it could make things much harder for his ultimate goal, which is to bust up the unions. Walker and his Republican allies have made no bones about the fact that they would like to alter, if not completely eliminate, the collective bargaining laws and to make the state into what is ironically known as a right to work state.

If the current administration and legislature complete the contract negotiations and these contracts are enacted, it weakens the Republican's legal arguments in a court of law for the lawsuit(s) that you know will be coming in fast and furiously if they were to pass their agenda.

After all, if anyone really thinks that Walker's agenda has anything to do with creating jobs, they might as well just stop kidding themselves, the sooner the better. Their real agenda is just to open up the state for exploitation and hoping that they get to partake in the rewards for doing so.

Thankfully, even though they got their you-know-whats handed to them in the last election, Governor Doyle and the Democrats are starting to show some of their old fire and are not willing to allow the state to go the toilet without a fight. But it's scary to think how downhill they can push are economy when they get free rein.


  1. Mr. Capper:

    I think that the state workers are caught in a real bad position here. To look at this issue more fairly, you have to ask why a democratic legislature and doyle are only now negotiating contracts for a term which will expire in July? To me, it seems clear that the idea was to enforce union support for Barrett and other democrats: support us or Walker will do what he says he will do. They were hostages.

    The unions claim that their contract is modest, frugal and austere. It may well be so, but the secretive nature and the sudden rush don't suggest to the taxpayer that this is the case.

    It would be interesting if Wisconsin were an right to work state, however. My union gets $800 a year and I often wonder what for? I know that is shameful and vapid to some, but were the union forced to justify my participation, it would lead to more transparency and service from the unions. I'd like that very much and I think the discussions which would take place in that context would strengthen some unions and weaken others. Right now, my union collects my money one way or another. I'm sure there are a lot of state workers who see it this way, too.


  2. Patrick,

    Your comments make me believe that you are an imposter and not really a member of an union or even a state worker.

    Perhaps you should be aware that Milwaukee County employees, such as myself, have been without a contract for two full years. It benefits us, since we still pay less for our insurance and we get our pay raises, but Scott Walker's refusal to negotiate a contract with the unions have hurt the taxpayers.

    A year and a half is not bad in retrospect.

    Furthermore, if you were a union member, you would have been aware that contract negotiations are never done in public. That is the law of the state and the country.

    And finally, before you tout for a right to work state, you might want to look up what it means. You will lose a third of your pay and run a twice as great a chance of being killed on the job. Furthermore, you whine about $800 a year in union dues, but how would you feel about $800 a month in health care costs?

    Please check your talking points before you try to troll me.

  3. Lose a third of your pay and run a 2X chance of being killed on the job? Umm, no. That is a bunch of B.S.

  4. "Right to work" states generally have a larger percentage of its population living in poverty than other states such as Wisconsin.

    Lets all gear up for the race to the bottom!

    GO WALKER!!!

  5. Wlker go to Paradise, sending us to Hell ...