Economy Jobs Unions

And Then They Came For Me

When Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker declared war on unions, he made the calculation that if he exempted private employee unions and emergency services from his initial assault, he could get away with it.

He was right. And now he’s coming for the rest of you.

Republicans are hurrying bills through the Wisconsin Legislature that they say could prevent layoffs by allowing companies to cut back workers’ hours, but Democrats on Tuesday called them a renewed GOP attack on unions.

The bills wouldn’t require companies to negotiate with unions about cutting back hours, in contrast to almost all similar laws in other states. But a spokeswoman for the author of the Assembly version of the Wisconsin proposal said there was no intent to harm organized labor. [...]

A hastily scheduled hearing was held in the Capitol on Tuesday, and committee votes could come as soon as Thursday, but Griffiths denied that the fast track was designed to skirt opposition.

“At this point in time we’re willing to expedite jobs-specific legislation,” Griffiths said.

Only a Republican would refer to a bill that allows companies to reduce work hours without negotiating with the union as “jobs-specific legislation.” Because that’s their idea of a jobs plan.

Wisconsin’s economy has faltered under Scott Walker. The state is trailing much of the nation in recovery and job creation, and Walker’s prescription of corporate tax cuts and austerity, which he promised would create 250,000 jobs, hasn’t cured their ailments.

A state that was once a bastion of Democratic politics has been transformed into what Esquire writer Charles Pierce refers to as the Koch Brother’s “midwest subsidiary formerly known as the state of Wisconsin.”

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker speaks at the RNC in Tampa, Florida (Reuters)

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker speaks at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida (Reuters)

  • muselet

    But a spokeswoman for the author of the Assembly version of the Wisconsin proposal said there was no intent to harm organized labor.

    “Oh, no, officer, I didn’t intend to run over that pedestrian. I just didn’t bother to step on the brake or swerve to avoid him.”

    Griffiths noted that President Barack Obama is encouraging states to adopt work-sharing laws.

    Lovely non sequitur. Simply poetic.

    Under Assembly Bill 15 and Senate Bill 26, a company that lost a portion of its business could seek state approval to reduce workers’ hours. A firm that lost 20 percent of its business could identify a group of affected workers and cut them back to four days a week, instead of laying off 20 percent of them, Griffiths said. Those whose hours were reduced could collect unemployment benefits to replace some of their lost wages, and benefits would not be affected, Griffiths said.

    I was under the impression the Rs thought government was evil, yet here they are proposing giving the state government the power to decide whether a company can justify reducing its workers’ hours. Golly, does that mean the fix is in and state approval will be automatic?

    I was also under the impression the Rs thought unemployment insurance was the reason employment isn’t 100%, what with all those lazy people lounging around and doing nothing on other people’s dime.

    It’s amazing what hatred for unions will do to a political party’s principles, isn’t it?


  • trgahan

    Right now, Scott Walker and his legislature are the proof that you can turn a battleground state into a glowing red bastion of right wing ideology with a single election. Pennsylvania and Michigan are not far behind, but Walker has definitely done his overlords proud.

    This is why Republicans in DC can be so obstructionist, at the state level they are winning and winning big! While progressives talk about demographic inevitability, the GOP is making it so by the time it’s here, it won’t matter.

  • D_C_Wilson

    What exactly does Scott Walker have to do to wake people in Wisconsin up? Torch Lambeau Field?