Bruce Murphy
Back In the News

Walker Exports Union Busting

Governor advises Iowa legislators on bill to decimate unions.

By - Feb 16th, 2017 01:11 pm
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Governor Scott Walker Signing Right to Work Legislation. Photo from Governor's Office.

Governor Scott Walker Signing Right to Work Legislation. Photo from Governor’s Office.

If you’re looking to crush unions, who you gonna call? Scott Walker.

And so it was in Iowa Monday, as the Gov. Walker “chatted with the 29 Iowa Senate Republicans for about 10 or 15 minutes… via a Skype conference call as the Iowa lawmakers met behind closed doors in a GOP caucus meeting,” the Des Moines Register reported.

Republicans control both houses of the Iowa legislature and the governorship, just as Wisconsin did when Act 10 was passed in 2011, virtually eliminating public unions in this state. Iowa Republicans are pushing a bill that “would limit most public-sector unions to bargaining only on base wages and it would prohibit most unions from negotiating with their employers over issues such as health insurance, evaluation procedures, supplemental pay and seniority-related benefits,” the story reported.

Republican state Sen. Jason Schultz, the Senate bill’s floor manager, said “he appreciated the opportunity to hear from Walker,” reporter William Petroski noted. Schultz “described the meeting as an opportunity for Walker to strongly reinforce the fact that he believes he did the right thing in approving changes in collective bargaining, and that Iowans are also doing the right thing.  The meeting was arranged by the Iowa Senate GOP caucus.”

After the meeting Walker tweeted that he was “Happy to speak to my friends in the Iowa Legislature via Skype. They have a chance to pass big, bold reforms!”

Another tweet let Republicans know what happens when you eliminate public unions: “We added seats in the WI Legislature in 3 election cycles since this…”

The decimation of the state teachers union and other public unions has drastically reduced campaign spending to support Democrats in Wisconsin. This has made it difficult in some cases for the party to run opponents to some Republican and conservative candidates. A case in point: incumbent Supreme Court Justice Annette Ziegler will face no opponent in the spring 2017 election.

Democratic Iowa state Sen. Nate Boulton complained about Republican legislators having a closed door Skype meeting with Walker rather than meeting with the large crowd of constituents who came to the capitol to meet with legislators about the bill.

“Boulton said Iowa Republican legislators have repeatedly claimed the House and Senate bills are ‘home grown,’ representing policies advocated by Iowa constituents, but he believes the meeting with Walker suggests otherwise,” Petroski reported.

“It certainly seems like it coming from a playbook that is from outside of Iowa and it is designed to do things to Iowa workers that are not for their benefit,” Boulton said.

“Walker’s spokesman Tom Evenson says that Walker discussed how Republicans overcame protests to pass Wisconsin’s law” and “showed photos from the protests on the call with the Iowa Senate and House Republican caucuses,” a story by Milwaukee’s Fox 6 reported.

The legislation restricting collective bargaining is expected to be approved this week by Republicans, the Des Moines Register reported.

Walker has also talked with Vice-President Mike Pence to urge the Trump administration to go after federal employee unions and to eliminate the civil service system, as Wisconsin has.

The U.S. Civil Service System goes back to the 1880s and was passed to end the “spoils system” whereby politicians of either party hired workers based on political loyalty rather than merit. The reform soon spread to states like Wisconsin, which passed its own civil service reform in 1905. The system worked so well that the next 26 Wisconsin governors, including 17 Republicans, never sought to overturn it. Walker and the Republican-controlled legislature overturned the system with a new law passed in 2016.

2 thoughts on “Back In the News: Walker Exports Union Busting”

  1. blurondo says:

    It’s ALEC, ALEC, ALEC and the corporations that support it.

  2. tim haering says:

    YOU know, Bruce, Walker would be nuthin without Vos and Fitzgerald. If you ask me, which you didn’t, they are the heroes of Act 10 — especially since a duly passed bill becomes law without a guv signature. All they needed him for was to not veto it. Hope you’re going to the BIlly JOel show I’ve seen ads for. Save a column for that.

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