Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has a habit of telling the truth about his "divide and conquer" governing style, but only when he is talking to one of his billionaire donors (or someone he thinks is a billionaire donor.)
Walker is at it again. This time, though, it's the private sector unions, the ones he said two years ago he was not interested in dismantling.
Back in full control with Republicans taking both houses of the Wisconsin legislature after they gerrymandered state districts in time for the November, 2012 elections, Walker and his colleagues are attempting to fast track a bill that would begin the process of shrinking private sector unions.
Democratic state legislators issued a press release today describing the latest round of Walker’s attacks on labor:
Republican Bill Targets Private Sector Unions
Farrow-Brooks bill undermines right to negotiate, legislators say
Madison—A bill being rushed through the Republican-controlled State Legislature is an attack on private sector union bargaining rights, three legislators charged today.
The proposal, sponsored by State Senator Paul Farrow (R-Pewaukee) and Representative Ed Brooks (R-Reedsburg), would allow employers to reduce the hours of their union-represented employees without the union’s approval. Democratic legislators charged that the measure is 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.”
“Sen. Lassa and I have authored legislation that accomplish the essence of AB 15 and SB 26, without increasing the risk of lawsuits or undermining the ability of unions to represent the rights of their members,” said Assistant Assembly Democratic Leader Sandy Pasch (D – Shorewood). “I urge the Republican authors of this flawed legislation to slow down and work with us in a bipartisan manner to ensure that we avoid completely unnecessary conflict and delay in implementing a work-share program.”
Senate Bill 26 and its companion, Assembly Bill 15 were introduced on Friday and were scheduled for public hearings today. Hearing notices indicate that committee votes could come as soon as Thursday. “They’re rushing this bill through to keep it below the radar before members of private sector unions and the public have a chance to react,” Sen. Lassa said.
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