Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker said today if his proposal to eliminate collective bargaining on all issues but pay does not become law, Wisconsin will need to layoff 1,500 state employees. As Walker spoke to the media, thousands of protesters converged on the Capitol, eventually becoming so loud that they could be heard where the Governor was.
Walker said there was “no room for compromise” on the collective bargaining issue. “We’re broke”, said Walker. He then responded to critics who said he had made no mention of eliminating collective bargaining during the fall campaign. He said he had campaigned on this issue, and anyone who said differently “was asleep”.
The root of the problem, Walker said, was his predecessor and the legislature for using shifts and gimmicks to push the budget problem to his administration.
As the din of protesters outside the room rose, Walker said he was “not surprised” by the reaction of workers. He said you should expect that when you make a “bold move”.
The bill as written can not pass the Wisconsin Senate until at least one Democratic Senator shows up on Tuesday making a quorum. Walker renewed his call for the 14 Democrats who are refusing to appear in the Senate to return to work. It’s time for them to come back and “participate in democracy” said Walker.
Firefighters and police are exempted from Walker’s proposed law. Despite that, hundreds of firefighters are expected to stay at the Capitol tonight as protests continue round-the-clock.
Tuesday morning, the state Senate will reconvene, and could possibly take action on the collective bargaining issue if it is uncoupled from the “budget repair bill”.