Dear Gov. Walker,
Ever since the recall election, the media has worked to paint a curious portrait of you as some kind of “moderate,” stressing always your someday-hopes of a bid at the presidency — assuming all that John Doe stuff goes away. Just this week, USA Today even found a UW-La Crosse professor to say that you’ve “been moving toward the middle and sounding more conciliatory.”
On the eve of your budget address, I’m writing to say we can see right through these phony new clothes. It doesn’t take X-ray vision to see that the changes you’re proposing in your second biennial budget are even more radical than the union-busting, protest-warranting, recall-inducing, school-defunding, health care-gutting, job-crushing measures of 2011. You’re just getting better at disguising them.
According to a press release issued yesterday by Democratic State Sens. Julie Lassa and Chris Larson and State Rep. Sandy Pasch, Republican legislators Paul Farrow and Ed Brooks are prepared to “drop the bomb” on private sector unions in the form of legislation that would allow employers to reduce the hours of their union-represented employees without the union’s approval.
According to Lassa, Larson, and Pasch, the measure to allow employers to reduce the hours of their union-represented employees without union approval could very well be the first blow in an effort to scale back private sector employee bargaining rights.
“Republicans began their war on bargaining rights with Act 10, and with this bill they have now turned their attention to private sector unions,” Senate Minority Leader Chris Larson (D-Milwaukee) said. “This bill is a clear opening shot at undermining private sector unions.”
“This is the beginning of ‘divide and conquer’ part two,” said State Senator Julie Lassa (D-Stevens Point). “The Farrow-Brooks bill says that private sector unions shouldn’t be able to negotiate for their members. It’s one more step toward their goal of ending the right of Wisconsin citizens to have their voice heard in the workplace.”
Senate Bill 26 and its companion, Assembly Bill 15, were introduced on Friday and could come up for committee votes as soon as Thursday.
Keep in mind that while Republicans may deny these bills are part of a larger effort to weaken private sector unions, it was Gov. Scott Walker himself who said he wanted to make Wisconsin a “right to work” state by working to “divide and conquer” unions, starting with removing collective bargaining for public employees in Wisconsin.