Tue July 30, 2013
Walker Says Some Lawmakers Want Police, Firefighter Collective Bargaining to End
Governor Scott Walker says some state lawmakers want to expand the collective bargaining crackdown to police officers and firefighters.
Walker insists that he’s not pushing any possible expansion.
When Walker curtailed collective bargaining for public employees two years ago with Act 10, he left out police and firefighters, saying he was concerned that any walkouts or slowdowns by those employees could weaken public safety. But Walker says in some communities the pressure of the bargaining crackdown has encouraged police and fire unions to settle for raises or benefit changes close to what other unions are getting.
Still, Walker told a Milwaukee forum yesterday that it's possible police and fire could someday lose most collective bargaining powers.
“There are some voices in the legislature that talked about that,” says Walker.
Reporters later tried to pin down Walker as to whether he thinks the collective bargaining change will eventually hit police and firefighters.
“Public employees across the state have seen that the fears that some of them projected just haven’t happened,” said Walker. “It’s not something we’re proposing or leading with right now. It’s something we’d take a look at if it came up through the legislature.”
State Democratic spokeswoman Melissa Baldauff says Walker saying he isn't pushing for something means little.
“There were a lot of things Scott Walker said he wasn’t going to push when he ran for governor in 2010,” “He didn’t run on a plan to end collective bargaining rights for public workers, and that’s what he did.”
Baldauff says Walker may be trying to court the far right wing of the Republican Party as he considers a run for president and is trying to stay on par with other possible GOP presidential candidates who have attacked all unions.
Economy and Business