Scott Walker’s Record on Labor Issues
Gov. Scott Walker vaulted to national prominence over his attacks on the rights of 175,000 Wisconsin workers shortly after taking office in 2011. His divisive attacks on hardworking Wisconsinites continue to polarize the state. In 2015 he continued his agenda of attacking working families and unions when he signed a wrong for Wisconsin right to work law, undermining the strong relationships built between private unions and their employers.
But the politically motivated union-busting attacks are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Walker’s anti-worker stances. As Milwaukee County executive, Walker balanced his budgets on the backs of workers and made consistent efforts to privatize public services.
As governor, Walker’s anti-labor positions range from layoffs and privatization to opposing increasing the minimum wage and an equal pay enforcement laws.
Gov. Scott Walker Divided Wisconsin in 2011, Five Years Later Wisconsin Uniting in Opposition to His Agenda, Disapproval of Job He’s Done
Today marks the five year anniversary of the introduction of one of Gov. Scott Walker’s most notorious attacks on the working people of Wisconsin.
Want More Cronyism, Corruption and Incompetence from Gov. Walker’s Administration? Republican Fast Track Effort To Gut State Anti-Corruption Laws Will Deliver
One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross blasted the latest fast track Republican efforts to gut state anti-corruption laws, saying it is a prescription for more of the kind of cronyism, corruption and incompetence Wisconsin has endured from Gov. Scott Walker’s Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC).
Gov. Walker’s Scandal Plagued Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation Provides Preview of Consequences of Proposal to Gut State Civil Service Laws
In a dramatic reversal, and despite past assurances to the contrary, Gov. Scott Walker and his lapdog Republican led state legislature are set to gut the state civil service that helps prevent cronyism and corruption. One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross blasted the proposal as opening the door to infecting other state agencies with the rampant cronyism, corruption and incompetence of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC), where civil service protections were removed.
Here They Go Again. Despite Past Assurances, Gov. Walker and Republican Legislature Target State Civil Service System
Upon his return to the state after the spectacular implosion of his presidential campaign, Gov. Scott Walker is endorsing a new attack on Wisconsin workers revealed today by state legislative Republicans.
Sinking in the national polls, the bumbling campaign of onetime frontrunner for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, is preparing to double down with renewed attacks on working people. Career politician Walker’s desperate bid to remain competitive on the backs of the middle class and working people will be unveiled in a Monday speech in Las Vegas Nevada, hometown of anti-union, Walker mega-donor Sheldon Adelson.
One Wisconsin Now is warning New Hampshire voters to beware this weekend when Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker visits to audition for the 2016 Republican Presidential nomination. Behind Walker’s rhetoric of economic recovery and courageous, principled action is a trail of deceit, cronyism, corruption and incompetence that includes a sagging state economy, mismanaged budgets, criminal investigations and payoffs to special interests – topped off with politically expedient flip-flops pandering to the most extreme Tea Party wing of the GOP.
Assembly GOP Passes Right to Work Despite Not Campaigning on Lower Wages, Fewer Resources for Schools, Less Health Care or More Dangerous Workplaces
The following are the statements of One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross regarding passage of a wrong for Wisconsin right to work bill by the Republican controlled legislature.
Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce ‘Business Day’ A Chance for Big Political Campaign Spenders to Check Up on Their Investment
Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce (WMC) is holding a "business day" at the state Capitol Wednesday as Republicans rush to pass a wrong for Wisconsin right to work law that their legislative leaders and Gov. Scott Walker declared was not on their 2015 agenda mere months ago. One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross questioned if the heavy spending of WMC on behalf of the GOP is playing a role in their newfound support for a law that will hurt Wisconsin's middle class.
As questions continue over the impetus for Gov. Scott Walker's sudden public support for a "right-to-work" law, an open records request by One Wisconsin Now has uncovered that the only two non-government employees who accompanied Gov. Walker on his ostensible trade mission to London, England were advocates for the wrong for Wisconsin right to work law.
GOP-Controlled Committee Puts Special Interests Funded by Gov. Walker’s Campaign Co-Chair at Front of the Line While Shutting Out Wisconsin Families
Seven groups that received funding from the Bradley Foundation, run by Gov. Walker’s campaign co-chair, were at the head of the line to have their say at yesterday’s public hearing on a wrong for Wisconsin right to work law. Meanwhile a large numbers of Wisconsin citizens who would be hurt by the law and waited all day to have their say were denied their right to speak when the committee chair abruptly ended the hearing.
The following are the statements of One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross upon passage of Senate Bill 44:
One Wisconsin Now Research Reveals Gov. Walker Campaign Co-Chair as Major Financier of Propaganda Campaign Paving Way for Wrong For Wisconsin Right to Work Law
Late last week, while traveling out of state, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker dropped his pre-November 2014 election charade of opposition to a right to work law that could cut the average Wisconsin family’s wages by over $5,000 per year. One Wisconsin Now’s research of the Milwaukee-based Bradley Foundation, headed by Gov. Walker’s campaign co-chair, reveals the stage has been set for Walker’s latest assault on Wisconsin’s middle class for his personal political benefit with a well-financed propaganda campaign utilizing a nationwide web of front groups.
Walker backtracked on right to work legislation, going from saying it was a ‘distraction’ that he would work to prevent from reaching his desk to promising to sign the fast tracked bill
Gov. Walker’s Profile in Cowardice on the ‘Wrong for Wisconsin’ Right to Work Law Provides Preview for Nation
With the announcement that a “Wrong for Wisconsin” right to work bill is about to be rammed through the state legislature, the nation is starting to learn what Wisconsin already knows: Gov. Scott Walker will say and do anything to get elected. One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross noted that before the November 2014 election Walker said he was not interested in a right to work law that lowers workers' wages by an average of up to $6,000. But, post-election, presidential candidate Walker quickly announced he would sign just such a measure if it reaches his desk.
‘Right-to-Work’ Backer Cites Bradley Foundation-Funded Junk Science to Justify Attack on Middle Class Wages and Workplace Safety
A Republican state legislator who says he will introduce a controversial, so-called “right-to-work” bill is basing his case in part on statistics produced by a right-wing group that receives significant support from the Milwaukee-based Bradley Foundation. The Mackinac Center for Public Policy, the source for statistics being cited by the presumptive bill author, has raked in nearly $500,000 over the last decade from the Bradley Foundation.
Leading up to the November 4 election, Gov. Scott Walker stated if re-elected he was not interested in pursuing legislation to further restrict the rights of Wisconsin workers. Yet less than one month after he survived a heated re-election bid, a new group with ties to a right-wing, big money cabal that underwrites conservative causes and has supported Gov. Walker, announced it will work to pass legislation to further restrict workplace rights in Wisconsin.
Fast food workers across the country, including in Milwaukee, Madison and Wausau, today engaged in direct actions and rallies for higher wages and the right to bargain for better working conditions. One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross applauded the workers effort and noted that Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s opposition to a higher minimum wage and actions like stripping workers of their rights have left the state lagging the Midwest on jobs and wage growth.
Profiles in Losing Touch: Gov. Walker Terms Efforts to Give Hardworking State Families a Raise a ‘Stunt’
Gov. Scott Walker has received over $1.5 million in salary, generous health care benefits for himself and his family, courtesy of state taxpayers. Yesterday, in an appearance before a political special interest group to promote a new trickle down economic tax scheme, he termed proposals to increase the state minimum wage a “political stunt.”
Gov. Scott Walker lashed out Thursday against Democratic proposals to raise the minimum wage, calling them a “political grandstanding stunt” that will kill jobs. Walker was addressing a friendly crowd at a meeting of the Wisconsin Grocers Association, a group that opposes increasing the minimum wage. Democrats both nationally and in Wisconsin and other states are pushing for increasing it. The proposal is going nowhere in Wisconsin, where Republicans who control the Senate and Assembly have it bottled up in committee. But that didn’t stop Walker from speaking out against the idea. “I think it is nothing more than a misguided political stunt,” he said of Democrats’ efforts to raise the wage. Doing that will only lead to the elimination of entry-level jobs and cut pay for other workers, Walker said. “If you want to put a buzz saw on the economic recovery we’ve seen in this state, you just start piling on regulations like increasing the minimum wage,” Walker said. Later, he called it “little more than a political grandstanding stunt” advanced by people who want to claim they’re helping workers when they’re really not.
“Gov. Scott Walker opposes increasing the federal minimum wage, fearing it would prompt employers to do less hiring. In making his case, Walker paints a picture of low-wage workers as people working the counter at fast-food restaurants”.
Walker’s opposition to minimum wage increase hurts women, who are more likely than men to work for $7.25 per hour or less
Recently, Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch led a closed-door roundtable discussion about taxes with some business leaders in Beloit. After viewing footage of the meeting obtained by One Wisconsin Now, we can see why Kleefisch and the Walker administration didn’t want the public to hear what they discussed.
“Scott Walker’s legislative confederate, who wants to eliminate the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday and voted to water down child labor laws, now has ending the weekend in his legislative crosshairs,” Ross said. “To do the bidding of their corporate donors, is restoration of indentured servitude coming next from the Walker Republicans?”
- Made it harder for workers to access unemployment compensation benefits by reducing the number of allowable reasons to quit a job from 18 to 9.
- Expanded the junk mail sales tax exemption created an income tax break for private school tuition (up to $10,000 per pupil), which is estimated to cost the state $30 million per year
- Created an income tax break for private school tuition (up to $10,000 per pupil), which is estimated to cost the state $30 million per year
Wisconsin's 'Money Badger', Michael Grebe, appears to have his paws in the attack on worker rights in Michigan according to One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross. Grebe, who runs the Milwaukee-based Bradley Foundation, has doled out nearly $2 million to three organizations taking leading roles in promoting the attack on worker rights launched by Michigan Republicans in a lame duck session of their state legislature.
In response, an activist group known as One Wisconsin Now has started its own petition initiative to match Walker’s fundraising efforts. The organization asks signers to “Stand with the Constitution,” referring to the ruling made by Dane County Circuit Court Judge Juan Colas, who believed Walker’s law violated the First and Fourteenth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution.
One Wisconsin Now today called on Gov. Scott Walker to halt the taxpayer-funded gravy train for the politically connected law firm, Michael, Best & Friedrich, and stop using public funds to pay for the continuing legal battle to overturn a court decision declaring Act 10, his controversial law stripping workplace rights from over 175,000 taxpaying state citizens, unconstitutional.
One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross released the following statements upon news late Friday a judge has declared Act 10, Gov. Scott Walker's attack on the rights of workers, unconstitutional.
A comprehensive report from One Wisconsin Now and United Wisconsin shows how Gov. Scott Walker raised over $7 million by exploiting the unlimited campaign finance recall loophole and provides a detailed perspective on the out-of-state and in-state donors who bankrolled Walker’s win in June.
One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross released the following statements regarding the 100th birthday of the late corporate propagandist Milton Friedman. Many of the failures of Gov. Scott Walker can be traced to the policies espoused by Friedman, most notably massive tax breaks for corporations and the wealthy, while attacking public investments and public employees.
Citing the age-old adage that actions speak louder than words, One Wisconsin Now is calling on Gov. Scott Walker to take concrete actions to heal the rift in Wisconsin brought on by his “divide and conquer” agenda.
A comprehensive analysis entitled “D is for Dismantle,” authored by the non-partisan One Wisconsin Institute shows that despite claims from Gov. Scott Walker, Wisconsin schools are not failing, instead his budget cuts and disastrous education policies endanger our proud tradition of excellent schools. The report from One Wisconsin Institute, the education and research partner of One Wisconsin Now, includes research that contradicts Gov. Walker's assertions about public schools and students not performing at the highest levels.
Rolled back class size reduction program; allows teachers to be evaluated on standardized test scores
On December 17, 2011, Walker signed a bill into law that rolled back a major provision of the popular class size reduction program, Student Achievement Guarantee in Education Program, which established class sizes of 18 or under in grades K-3. This bill allows school districts to opt out of class size reductions in grades 2 and 3. Prior law required participation in K-3 to receive SAGE funding. Additionally, Act 105 allows school districts to use value-added analysis of standardized test scores to evaluate teachers. Though it cannot be the sole reason used to fire, suspend or discipline a teacher, the bill allows school districts to place greater weight on the test scores in evaluating a teacher’s job performance. Prior law prohibited the use of standardized test results to fire, suspend or discipline a teacher. (2011 SB 95, introduced 5/13/2011; Senate Roll Call; Assembly Roll Call)
But Scot Ross, executive director of the liberal group One Wisconsin Now, noted Walker did not talk about cutting collective bargaining during the campaign and said Walker was precisely the one who caused the recall effort. “Gov. Walker is responsible for tearing Wisconsin apart and the division which has led to this unprecedented recall effort against him,” Ross said. “He alone is responsible. “If Gov. Walker had been honest with the people of Wisconsin about what his intentions were, the recall would not be happening. But then again, Gov. Walker would not have been elected.”
Walker signed into a law a bill that allows any municipal employer to enter into a memorandum of understanding to reduce the cost of compensation or fringe benefits, without modifying an existing collective bargaining agreement for purposes of 2011 WI Act 10. The memorandum has to be entered into within 90 days after the effective date of this bill. (2011 AB 319, introduced 10/12/2011; Assembly Roll Call)
Gov. Scott Walker voiced support for legislation that would end a long-standing practice that allows public workers to simultaneously collect their pension and a state paycheck. The statement concludes by adding Gov. Walker "supports applying the same policy for administration appointees."
In the past five and a half years, at least 6,829 state and local government employees covered by the Wisconsin Retirement System left then returned to work, simultaneously earning a pension and a salary. Those include two of Gov. Scott Walker's cabinet secretaries: Corrections Secretary Gary Hamblin and Children and Families Secretary Eloise Anderson, both earning six-figure salaries along with their public pensions. Stephen Fitzgerald, superintendent of the Wisconsin State Patrol, whose sons, Scott and Jeff, run the Senate and Assembly, respectively, also is back on the payroll while continuing to collect a state pension. On Friday, Walker said he supports a bill that would end double dipping. But the Republican governor has no plans to ask his appointees to stop taking their pensions, spokesman Cullen Werwie said.
One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross released the following statements in celebration of Labor Day and the continuing fight by Wisconsin workers and the middle class against the corporate takeover of state government happening as a result of the capitulation and policy changes of Gov. Scott Walker and the Republican-controlled legislature.
Legal fees soar for Wisconsin taxpayers over bargaining, redistricting | GOP skips bids, pays up to $395 per hour
The Capitol battles over union bargaining and political redistricting proposals have paid off for one group: politically connected GOP lawyers. So far this year, two firms with strong Republican connections have racked up more than $700,000 in invoices and payments authorized by Gov. Scott Walker and GOP lawmakers to help represent the state in cases such as legal challenges over Walker's legislation ending most collective bargaining for public employees. More payments on the ongoing cases and another likely case are still to come, as Walker considers a request by the Department of Justice to appoint one of the firms to represent the state in a federal lawsuit over redistricting legislation.
Walker signed a bill that stripped all public workers, except police and firefighters, of their collective bargaining rights. The bill no longer allows teachers, nurses, snow plow drivers and other public employees to bargain on their work place conditions, benefits or for pay raises above the cost of inflation. In addition, unions have lost the right to file workplace grievances and most no longer have protections from being fired without just cause. Critics of the bill believe that for all practical purposes, it is a union-busting bill, because it prevents collection of union dues, forces unions to hold annual certification elections to enable the unions to continue year-to-year, and many other measures aimed at hobbling the union. Special Session Assembly Bill 11 passed the Senate on March 9, 2011 by a 18-1 margin with all of the Republicans except Sen. Dale Schultz voting for the bill. The Democrats were out of the state to prevent the bill's passage based on lacking the quorum necessary of 20 members. The Republicans, however, claim that they took out all non-fiscal elements of bill and that they did not require a quorum of 20 for passage. (2011 January Special Session AB 11, introduced 2/15/11; Senate Roll Call; Assembly Roll Call)
Walker signed into law a bill that prevented local government's from passing paid sick leave or family medical leave laws that are more inclusive and powerful than the statewide law. The governor signed the bill into law on May 5, 2011. (2011 SB 23, introduced 2/23/11; Senate Roll Call; Assembly Roll Call)
“There will need to be electoral changes in order to get the rights back that Republicans took from working people,” said Scot Ross, executive director of One Wisconsin Now, a progressive advocacy group.
Gov. Scott Walker will be able to name political appointees to fill three dozen civil-service jobs that handle open records requests from the public under the budget-repair law he signed last week. Walker's separate 2011-'13 budget proposal would also make a political appointment out of another key civil service job - the top lawyer spot at the agency overseeing state labor law. The law would make existing civil-service positions into 37 new political appointments, including 14 general counsels, 14 communications positions in state agencies and other positions, including legislative liaisons doing lobbying for agencies. That would allow Walker and agency secretaries to hire and fire employees in those positions at will. Under the law, the civil service jobs would be classed as division administrator jobs, a kind of political appointment, and would increase that class of political appointments in the affected agencies by about 50%, according to the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau.
But the principal hasn’t been paid back yet. Unions and liberal groups like One Wisconsin Now are also upset that M & I executives gave more money to Scott Walker during last year’s governor’s race, than the officials did to Democrat Tom Barrett.
Over two weeks after One Wisconsin Now filed an open records request for all email and written communications between Koch Industries’ lead Wisconsin lobbyist and the office of Gov. Scott Walker and the Department of Administration, the Walker administration has yet to fulfill the request. One Wisconsin Now said it is considering legal action and notes the unusual speed at which Gov. Walker’s office released staff email communications this week it claimed were proof of the administration’s willingness to negotiate with Senate Democrats in the budget repair bill dispute.
The enforcement of Executive Order #108 was suspended by Governor Walker as of March 2011. This Order was signed by Governor Doyle in 2005 to encourage the employment of apprentices on construction projects for the State of Wisconsin. In this way the state would help create opportunities for younger workers to learn the skills needed for employment in the building and construction trades.
Scot Ross, executive director of One Wisconsin Now, speaks at a rally outside of the Wisconsin State Capital on Day 11 of protests in Madison, Wisconsin, over Governor Scott Walker’s budget repair bill.
One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross issued the following statements regarding Gov. Scott Walker’s efforts to close the State Capitol off to the people of Wisconsin and the continued mobilization against his efforts to use the government to take away the rights of working men and women and dismantle the quality of Wisconsin’s way of life.
One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross released the following statements regarding the failure of Gov. Scott Walker’s plan to close the State Capitol to hundreds of protesters who had intended to sleep in the Capitol for a 13th night in solidarity against the governor’s disastrous budget repair plan.
As Governor, his signature achievement – ending collective bargaining for public employees – was a result of a bill passed in the middle of the night
It took a sneak attack in the early morning hours on Friday for Republicans in the Wisconsin Assembly to pass Gov. Scott Walker's controversial budget bill, the one that would eliminate collective bargaining rights for most public-sector unions. Assembly Democrats savaged their counterparts for ramming the bill through at just past 1 a.m., screaming "shame!" and branding them "cowards." But if anyone asks Walker about the GOP's late-night tactic, he'll find himself in a tough spot: he's blatantly flip-flopped on the issue throughout his career. On the campaign trail in 2010, Walker, then a gubernatorial candidate, disavowed late-night votes by Wisconsin lawmakers. At the time, the Assembly was pulling all-nighters in order to finish its two-year legislative session, a common occurrence that's angered government watchdogs who don't approve of state business conducted when most people are asleep. In April 2010, Walker pledged to outlaw any votes in the legislature after 10 p.m. and before 9 a.m. "I have two teenagers and I tell them that nothing good happens after midnight. That’s even more true in politics," he said in a statement. "The people of Wisconsin deserve to know what their elected leaders are voting on."
In an attempt to push through his unpopular Budget Repair Bill, Gov. Scott Walker has tried to set a Friday deadline for passage by falsely claiming that lack of action will cost taxpayers money:
Scot Ross (far right corner), executive director of One Wisconsin Now speaks at a rally outside of the State Capital on day 11 of protests over Gov. Scott Walker’s budget-repair bill.
“Gov. Walker and the Republican Legislature are trying to ram this (bill) through in less than a week,” said Scot Ross, the executive director of One Wisconsin Now. “The senators have rightfully taken matters into their own hands.”
Members of the Wisconsin State Assembly and Senate will be flooded with over 16,000 petitions signed by Wisconsinites united against Gov. Scott Walker’s efforts to use the government to take away the rights of workers across Wisconsin.
Gov. Scott Walker’s scheme to allow the government to take away the rights of Wisconsin workers is part of an unbalanced and potentially unconstitutional proposal that would add at least $30 million to the state’s credit card and allow the Governor’s health agency director to slash health care access and raise costs without the approval of the legislature.
More Than 5,000 Immediately Respond to Walker Petition Denouncing Governor’s Undemocratic Governmental Takeaway of Rights
MADISON, Wis. — Gov. Scott Walker’s efforts to use the government to take away the rights of workers across Wisconsin has generated more than 5,000 petition signers in less than one day from all corners of Wisconsin to demand state legislators reject Walker’s undemocratic plan.
“Unpaid furloughs ordered to help balance Milwaukee County's 2010 budget could compromise public safety, according to law enforcement and court officials. The impact of furloughs -- or other substitute budget cuts - -could range from slower prosecutions to delayed trials and criminal arrest warrants, the officials said. Restraining orders in domestic violence cases also might be slowed, they said. The furloughs may force him to make ‘triage decisions’ in which charges for lesser crimes are delayed or skipped so prosecutors can focus on serious felony cases, said District Attorney John Chisholm.”
“...Walker said privatizing airport operations could enable the county to "actually turn a profit and use the revenue to pay down debt." He also said the money from an airport privatization could be used to help pay for the county's bus system without increasing the property tax. ...He sought but failed to win County Board support for a study on airport privatization for 2009, and he didn't address the issue in his 2010 budget. ...Three county supervisors attending Walker's speech said they remained opposed. Supervisors Johnny Thomas, Christopher Larson and Theo Lipscomb said it would be unwise for the county to entrust one of its prime assets to private firms. They warned that fees for a variety of services at the airport would likely be increased.”
“Nonunion Milwaukee County workers will get reduced pensions, higher health insurance costs and no seniority raises in 2010, under action approved Thursday by the County Board. ...County Executive Scott Walker favors the measure. Supervisors, Walker and other elected officials were excluded from the pension trims...The employee benefits concessions apply to just 717 unrepresented employees, but also are aimed at leveraging similar concessions from the roughly 4,700 county employees who are union members. The combined savings, if applied to all county employees, was estimated at $7.5 million.”
“Over the last eight years, we’ve worked together to maintain funding for essential government programs without increasing the property tax levy from the previous year, cut debt by over 10%, and cut the county work force by over 20%.”
“Milwaukee County employees would bear a heavy burden of budget-balancing pain in County Executive Scott Walker's proposed 2010 budget, with nearly $41 million in pay and benefits cuts and the elimination of nearly 400 jobs. The proposal includes a 3% across-the-board wage cut for all county workers, a new employee pension contribution of 5% of a worker's salary, a boost in health care contributions and more furloughs...Walker was immediately criticized by supervisors and unions for unrealistic budgeting and the potential for plunging the county into a costly labor dispute. The County Board has a tentative contract with the county's largest union that calls for a two-year pay freeze in exchange for no layoffs and no privatized jobs - a deal that would go out the window under Walker's proposed budget. That raises the likelihood the county could be accused of bad-faith bargaining, warned Supervisor Lynne De Bruin. "We are creating a war with our largest union," she said. Walker has threatened to veto the tentative contract, and on Thursday the board delayed action on it.’”
Arbitrator Ruled Walker Exceeded Authority In Cutting Employee Hours and Failed to Show County Was in Fiscal Crisis
“Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker exceeded his authority in attempting to unilaterally cut union employees' hours as a budget-cutting move, according to an arbitrator's ruling issued Wednesday.”
Walker Intended to Use Wage Freezes & Shortened Work Weeks to Address County’s Shortfall of $15 Million in 2009 and $90 Million in 2010
“Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker on Friday added an employee wage freeze to his growing arsenal of tools aimed at avoiding large budget shortfalls. But as with other ideas he's broached -- most notably a 35-hour work week and accompanying pay cuts -- the county executive ran into immediate resistance and accusations he's playing politics with people's lives. Walker said he's not bluffing about the need for the cutbacks or the likely alternative -- layoffs. All county department heads have been asked to draft layoff plans in case the freeze and his other efforts are rebuffed, Walker said...The county is projected to face shortfalls of nearly $15 million this year and $90 million next year. Walker had no estimate of savings linked to a wage freeze.”
“Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker on Thursday ordered five-hour weekly unpaid furloughs for most county employees through the rest of 2009 as a way of offsetting a projected $15 million deficit this year…Walker's shorter workweek order affects at least half the county workforce, including managers. The cut also could be extended to 60% or more of the nearly 5,000 county employees. …For affected county workers, losing five hours of reduced pay a week would amount to about a 12.5% cut.”
“Milwaukee County's 2008 overtime spending is on pace to match or beat last year's record $15.8 million tab, despite extra recruitment and hiring of mental health and corrections workers, an analysis of county spending records shows. The overtime bill for the first 10 months of this year was $14.4 million. Overtime costs for November and December are expected to drive the bill to more than $16 million. ...Amid the economic downturn, Walker imposed a partial hiring and travel freeze in September to help ward off a year-end deficit. He credited such moves with keeping the county in the black. But critics on the County Board say Walker has courted overtime growth by too thinly staffing county departments.”
“Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker’s 2009 budget would potentially lay off 339 employees, mostly through privatizing food service, housekeeping, skilled trade and vehicle maintenance workers, supervisors were told Monday. ...County Board Chairman Lee Holloway called Walker's budget ‘the worst budget that I've experienced in 16 years on the board in terms of the cuts and the complications.’”
After Walker Supported Cutting Shared Revenue, He Blamed Loss of Shared Revenue for Midyear Shortfall
Walker announced the unusual midyear layoffs and workweek changes in a ‘Dear County Employee’ e-mail message after what he described as several rushed meetings with stunned department heads scrambling to patch a $7.8 million deficit in the county’s 2003 budget...Walker’s email to employees blamed the current-year deficit on ‘a number of unanticipated occurrences including significant revenue shortfalls in a number of departments, loss of state revenue and loss of investment earnings.’”
The Milwaukee County Labor Council voted Wednesday night to endorse Milwaukee Ald. Thomas Nardelli in the Milwaukee County executive's race. The council, affiliated with the AFL-CIO, includes about 150 unions with about 60,000 members living in Milwaukee County. The union met with a series of candidates last week but put off an endorsement until Wednesday, after it met with Nardelli. The Milwaukee County Labor Council, and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Workers both endorsed Walker’s opponent, Alderman Thomas Nardelli for Milwaukee County Executive. The Council had about 150 unions with about 60,000 members in Milwaukee County.
The commission appears to be incapable of using common sense in most of these cases. Time and time again their rulings defy logic to the public.”