Wisconsin Gov. Admits Union-Busting Measure Doesn't Save Any State Money
At a hearing before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker was forced to admit, on the record, that certain anti-union provisions of the budget bill he was able to pass in his state's legislature do not actually save the state any money. Walker's admission came after Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) asked him how much the state would save if a certain provision of the bill Walker championed was implemented.
KUCINICH: Let me ask you about some of the specific provisions in your proposals to strip collective bargaining rights. First, your proposal would require unions to hold annual votes to continue representing their own members. Can you please explain to me and members of this committee how much money this provision saves for your state budget?
WALKER: That and a number of other provisions we put in because if you're going to ask, if you're going to put in place a change like that, we wanted to make sure that we protected the workers of our state, so that they had a right to know what kind of value out of that. It's the same reason we gave workers the right to choose, which is a fundamental American right; the right to choose whether or not they want to be part of a union and whether or not they want a thousand dollars taken out--
KUCINICH: Would you answer the question? How much money does it save, Governor?
WALKER: That particular part doesn't save any.
As Zaid Jilani points out, "Walker's admission is crucial because he had long claimed that his anti-union 'budget repair bill' was designed to save the state money, not bust unions." Walker's new justification is his feigned concern about workers being able to choose whether or not to be part of a union. However, he's effectively taking the decision away from thousands of Wisconsin state employees by removing the primary reason unions exist, which is to collectively bargain for the interests of workers.