30 July 2013

Fire Engineering

Republicans who control the Wisconsin Legislature haven't formally discussed expanding the state ban on collective bargaining for most public sector workers, a change that Gov. Scott Walker said Monday that he would consider if it was proposed, reports Wisconsin State Journal.

"There has not been any caucus discussion on the topic of expansion,” said Kit Beyer, spokeswoman for Assembly Speaker Robin Vos.

"Senate Republicans have not discussed it as a full caucus, and there are no plans to discuss it in the near future," said Dan Romportl, chief of staff to Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald.

Walker himself was backing away from his statement a day after he made it, saying he simply answered a question.

"Governor Walker was asked a question by an audience member and simply made an observation," said spokesman Tom Evenson. "This issue is not something Governor Walker is pursuing. If the issue were to arise in the legislature, the Governor would take a look at it as he does with many other issues, but again this is not something he is pursuing."

Walker's remarks about public sector unions and his statement comparing himself to Franklin Delano Roosevelt were riling up opponents Tuesday.

"Gov. Walker is no Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Wisconsin knows it," said Phil Neuenfeldt, president of the state AFL-CIO.  "FDR brought us out of the Great Depression with strong investment in workers and jobs programs that worked.  Scott Walker is drowning in a jobs deficit and to compare himself to FDR is laughably delusional."

On Monday, Walker said: "The position I pushed is not unlike the principle that Franklin Delano Roosevelt -- not exactly a conservative -- pushed as well when it came to public sector collective bargaining...He felt that there wasn't a need in the public sector to have collective bargaining because the government is the people. We are the people. And so what we've done is to be able to empower our great employees, to affirm them."

Walker and other Republican lawmakers exempted police and firefighters from the polarizing law that all but eliminated union rights for public sector workers.

At the time, Walker said he couldn't risk work stoppages for public safety personnel.

Read more of the story here http://bit.ly/164oUzP