Scott Walker Didn’t Campaign On This

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker did not campaign on the union-busting package he's proposing now.

A point I've made several times since weighing into the Wisconsin showdown is that Governor Scott Walker's union busting is rather draconian given that I could find no evidence that he campaigned on it. But I don't live in Wisconsin and didn't follow the campaign; all I had to go on was Walker's own campaign website and a quick Google search. 

But PolitiFact confirms my instant analysis. They research Walker's claim that, "I campaigned on (the proposals in the budget repair bill for Wisconsin) all throughout the election. Anybody who says they are shocked on this has been asleep for the past two years."

It seemed to us like the first public hint Walker gave that he was considering eliminating many union bargaining rights was at a Dec. 7, 2010 Milwaukee Press Club forum, some four weeks after the election.

[…]

For this item, we reviewed dozens of news accounts and various proposals on Walker’s campaign website to determine what he said about collective bargaining during the campaign. We talked to both campaigns in the governor’s race, and union officials.

During the campaign, Walker prided himself on presenting many specific proposals to voters. Our Walk-O-Meter includes 60-plus specific promises. Indeed, his plans for the state Department of Natural Resources include at least seven specific elements, including appointment of a "whitetail deer trustee" to review deer counts. But nowhere in our search did we find any such detailed discussion of collective bargaining changes as sweeping as Walker proposed.

We asked Walker spokesman Cullen Werwie to provide evidence that Walker raised those issues during the campaign. "During the campaign he ran on giving local units of government the flexibility to manage their own budgets," Werwie said. "That is what he is continuing to say and do right now."

He gave one example: a Walker proposal in July, 2010 to allow local units of government to switch from health plans that have high premiums to the state’s lower cost employee health plan. Walker’s camp said at the time that the switch would not have to be negotiated with unions; Walker would move to take the choice out of the collective bargaining process, they said. Labor officials disagreed and said they would fight attempts to change the collective bargaining law.

Werwie also pointed to a campaign flier circulated by the American Federation of Teachers-Wisconsin, a union representing 17,000 public employees in the state.In addition to criticizing Walker comments on benefit cuts, the AFT flier notes a Walker comment about freeing up local governments from being "strangled" by mediation. And it points out his comment on the health plan switch he proposed in July — the one that would take the choice of health plans off the table for unions.

Both of those are part of collective bargaining and were discussed. But they are a far cry from what was proposed.

For instance, during the campaign Walker talked about who controls the choice of health care providers. After the election he proposed eliminating any negotiations on the subject of health care.

Walker’s campaign proposal on mediation and arbitration offers a similar contrast: He told the Appleton Post-Crescent in a lengthy question and answer session in 2009 that "you've got to free up local government officials to not be strangled by things like mediation and arbitration." As his website made clear, he was talking about a specific, significant change in teacher’s union arbitration — not the dramatic changes on the table now.

[…]

As the campaign rolled near a close, in late October 2010, Walker told the OshkoshNorthwestern that he would "ask all state workers" for wage and benefit concessions in the collective bargaining process. After the election, he proposed imposing concessions without negotiating and eliminating benefits as a topic of collective bargaining.

[…]

Before the election Walker talked about seeking concessions in the context of face-to-face negotiations — as in the Oshkosh Northwestern interview. He is moving to impose health and pension cost-sharing through legislation, without having taken his proposal to the unions.

He once talked about expanding a statewide cost control system — using collective bargaining — beyond teachers to all state employees. But now he proposes an approach that would let individual municipalities set their own benefit levels — with little input from unions.

At the end of the day, Walker is governor and he's got a right to try to pass any constitutional bills he wants through the legislature. And quorum busting went out as a legitimate tactic in the 1890s. But Walker's defenders' argument that "elections have consequences," implying that this was what the voters asked for, is specious. 

via Andrew Sullivan 

FILED UNDER: General,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Jeff says:

    Gee, who is famous for saying, "I won" ???

  2. mantis says:

     

    But Walker's defenders' argument that "elections have consequences," implying that this was what the voters asked for, is specious. 
    Call it what it is.  It's a lie.  So is his claim that smashing the union is necessary to solve the budget crisis.  The union has already agreed to the cuts.  He wants them destroyed, because his benefactors hate unions.  He obviously works for them, and not for the people of Wisconsin.

  3. mantis says:

     

    Gee, who is famous for saying, "I won" ?
    Gee, who is famous for saying "Go f*ck yourself?"

  4. Highlander says:

    I guess the Unions really pissed the man off!
    Plus, once in office and with acess to the numbers, he isn't willing to march Wisconsin over the edge of a financial abyess, ala California. I guess that makes him a terrible man doesn't it?
    PS
    I've belonged to three difierent unions in my lifetime. I'm not anti union, but they are by nature corrupt and prone to thugism. And I;m begining to think, the Government ones are the worst of the lot.

  5. wr says:

    Mantis — Why would you say that, just because he took 40 minutes out of his busy day to suck up to a prankster he thought was one of the Koch brothers — and proceeded to lay out the ways in which he planned to act in bad faith against the Democrats.

  6. ponce says:

    Seeing as Walker's antics have killed any change the Repulicans in the House will get any support for their ideas, we owe Wlaker a debt of gratitude.

  7. Have A Nice G.A. says:

    Gee, who is famous for saying "Go f*ck yourself?" 
    Tom p, lol j/k
     
    I've belonged to three different unions in my lifetime. I'm not anti union, but they are by nature corrupt and prone to thugism. And I;m beginning to think, the Government ones are the worst of the lot. 
    Perhaps Walker is to much of a leader to point this out as he tries to save the jobs of the same people who blindly support this institution of political corruption?
    Bravo Highlander.
     

  8. PD Shaw says:

    At an October 4, 2010 campaign rally with Chris Christie:
    Scott Walker was in top form. He promised that his first act as governor would be to walk across the marble lobby of the East Wing's second floor where he would hand to A.G. Van Hollen his authorization to join other states in challenging the mandated health insurance premiums of ObamaCare. Big cheer. (Doyle has refused his assent.)
    He also promised to institute merit teacher pay and make it easier for local school districts to get rid of under-performers.
    http://www.thedailypage.com/daily/article.php?article=30761

  9. mantis says:

    He also promised to institute merit teacher pay and make it easier for local school districts to get rid of under-perform

    Did he promise to bust the union? No, he did not.

  10. PD Shaw says:

    Apparently, the Milwaukee Journal Sentintal didn’t cover the Chris Christie campaign rally for Scott Walker. An interestiing fact-check, if we didn’t cover it, it didn’t happen. If you got all of your news from the Journal Sentintal, I guess you get what you pay for.

  11. wr says:

    Highlander — You’re not anti-union, but you think they’re all corrupt? Does that mean you’re generally in favor of corrupt institutions, or you really are anti-union?

  12. Have A Nice G.A. says:

    wr it was 20 min and he said the same thing he always does, Why don’t listen to him instead of the newest attempt of another professional agitator?

    The white house meets or speaks with Trumka every single day buy his own admission, Obama sends his agitation arm into my state to cause chaos after his clearly indoctranated statement of support for his sacred cash cow(:)) and you look to a prank phone call for justification of corruption.

    Sigh…..

    I

  13. Steven Plunk says:

    Hooray! Mantis is back to foul language in place of reasonable arguments. The lefties are such a pleasure to debate.

    How about the idea this governor was elected to get financial issues in order and he has the backing of the state legislature? There will be a new election and if the voters see this as a mistake they can vote accordingly.

  14. mantis says:

    Mantis is back to foul language in place of reasonable arguments.

    Yeah, I really missed an opportunity for reasonable debate with Jeff up there, didn’t I?

    How about the idea this governor was elected to get financial issues in order and he has the backing of the state legislature?

    Destroying the union is not getting “financial issues in order.” Do you wingnuts ever stop lying?

  15. rodney dill says:

    Gee, who is famous for saying, “I won” ? Obama
    Gee, who is famous for saying “Go f*ck yourself?” Ceelo Green

  16. mantis says:

    Gee, who is famous for saying “Go f*ck yourself?” Ceelo Green

    Ha. That’s FU, actually. I was thinking of someone a bit pastier, and sloppier with a shotgun.

  17. Steven Plunk says:

    Wingnuts? That one is old.

    Collective bargaining by public employee unions has nearly bankrupted every state. The unfunded pensions, the unreasonable demands for health insurance benefits, and low productivity have all been a result of powerful unions and the weakness of the government when negotiating. The first step in getting costs under control is taking on these unions.

  18. mantis says:

    Collective bargaining by public employee unions has nearly bankrupted every state.

    BS. States with no collective bargaining are bankrupt too. Go sell stupid someplace else, wingnut.

  19. rodney dill says:

    Ooooo…. Forgot about Cheney.

  20. Brummagem Joe says:

    Steven Plunk says:
    Wednesday, February 23, 2011 at 14:25
    Wingnuts? That one is old.

    “Collective bargaining by public employee unions has nearly bankrupted every state. ”

    So how do you explain that states where union bargaining power is zilch are in much the same fiscal boat? I do wish you’d learn a little before making these grand claims. You’re one of the most uninformed commenters here and yet you constatntly make totally unsupported claims that often betray how little you know about the topic.

  21. ponce says:

    “So how do you explain that states where union bargaining power is zilch are in much the same fiscal boat? ”

    This crusade of Walker’s has nothing to do with facts, Joe.

    It is driven by the kind of hatred only self-loathing can generate.

    And sure enough, a quick look at Walker’s bio shows a college dropout who’s spent his entire life suckling at the teat of government.

    Same reason so many of the most strident wingnuts are tenured college professors…self-hatred.

  22. Brummagem Joe says:

    Steven Plunk says:
    Wednesday, February 23, 2011 at 14:13
    “Hooray! Mantis is back to foul language in place of reasonable arguments. ”

    Actually he’s just quoting a well known Republican. As far as I know Mantis has never been on the senate floor and issued this expletive.

  23. Brummagem Joe says:

    “This crusade of Walker’s has nothing to do with facts, Joe.”

    Of course I know this and now so does most of the country. Once this became a battle over worker’s freedom to bargain Walker was sunk. This call from “Koch” is a considerable gaffe because it just reinforces the union busting perception.

  24. Herb says:

    “Collective bargaining by public employee unions has nearly bankrupted every state.”

    No, it hasn’t.

    “The unfunded pensions, the unreasonable demands for health insurance benefits, and low productivity have all been a result of powerful unions and the weakness of the government when negotiating.”

    Not really.

    “The first step in getting costs under control is taking on these unions.”

    A tax increase would help.

  25. Have A Nice G.A. says:

    Propagandists of the union worldview….sigh…. Rules for radicals…sigh….

    The state of Wisconsin is BROKE most of it’s funds go the public employees. hmm, what should we cut, hmm, how should we cut it….sigh…..

    how do we do it with out any of the problems losing their jobs…sigh….

    Gonna go talk to my Kitchen table for awhile, sick of typing into the void.

    🙁

  26. Hmm says:

    “elections have consequences”

    Didn’t you use this phrase yourself last week, James? Not that this is some egregious sin, but if you’re going to (rightly) criticize others…

  27. Herb says:

    “The state of Wisconsin is BROKE most of it’s funds go the public employees. ”

    I don’t think that’s true, so…….

  28. steve says:

    Walker loses a lot of credibility by not going after all the unions. It also seems pretty clear he has been planning this for a while but did not campaign explicitly on it. I guess the voters will decide if they like this style of governing.

    Steve

  29. Mike Drew says:

    Who’s to say under what conditions quorum-busting might not be immediately legitimate again? Isn’t it dependent on the norms of the particular legislature? And aren’t norms of legislatures just essentially dressed-up, inexact tacit agreements subject to ongoing unilateral reinterpretation? And who’s to say quorum busting’s legitimacy even did “go out” at all? How do you prove that? And in particular, how in Wisconsin? And isn’t it a bit easy to just go ahead and claim this in this case, as much potentially because you would like it to be seen that way as because you actually believe it to be the case (not that I’m accusing you of doing that consciously here), if you can’t actually show the illegitimacy, in particular with respect to the particulars of this episode? What, ultimately, is the difference between those two, if there is no accepted standard of legitimacy on this question (which I would submit there isn’t).

  30. Gustopher says:

    James Joyner: “And quorum busting went out as a legitimate tactic in the 1890s”

    What happened in the 1890s? Was there something specific, or is this just an arbitrary line in the sand that makes Abraham Lincoln’s use of it ok, but the current Democrats’ use of it not ok?

  31. Brummagem Joe says:

    Gustopher says:
    Wednesday, February 23, 2011 at 15:25

    As JJ explained on another thread I think the Dems in Washington tried to block some legislation by absenting themselves. His contention is nonsense of course, political parties use whatever procedural rules are to hand. It’s been going on every day for the last two years in the senate.

  32. Mike Drew says:

    Gustopher: Exactly.

    That said, I do want to thank Prof. for his diligence in following up on his stated impression that Walker did not campaign on his CB changes. It is valuable for him to highlight it, even if POlitiFact did the research.

    It should be said that it is extremely unlikely that the Dems would have walked out on the state purely on his “5 & 12” benefits contribution plan, which then could have passed easily on a party vote (and been entirely democratically legitmate in being so passed, as elections do “have consequences” when you do what you campaigned on). It is therefore specious to say that this CB power play was necessary as a bargaining ploy to attain the economic concessions. He had the votes for those all along. This difference in political communication legitimacy between the CB and the contribution proposals, combined with the lightning speed with which the WI Republican regime intended to make all of it – and more – law are clearly extraordinary circumstances that defeat the Professor’s arbitrary claim about the illegitimacy of quorum busting as a legislative tactic in this instance.

  33. Have A Nice G.A. says:

    ***I don’t think that’s true, so…….***table?

  34. sam says:

    @GA

    “The state of Wisconsin is BROKE most of it’s funds go the public employees. hmm, what should we cut, hmm, how should we cut it”

    Medicaid accounts for more of the deficit, I’d guess. But the guv has plans for that:

    Public Workers Aren’t Walker’s Only Target

    Short version: If you live in Wisconsin, and are on Medicaid, there’s a good chance you’ll soon be living in Wisconsin and not be on Medicaid.

  35. wr says:

    So he wants to gut the teachers’ health plan and force them into Badgercare — and then gut Badgercare.

    What a lovely man.

  36. PD Shaw says:

    Don’t move to Illinois, Illinois Democrats are weaking Medicaid too.

  37. PD Shaw says:

    Elections have consequences. When Obamacare expanded state Medicaid obligations, the states had to try to figure out how to shrink Medicaid or go broke.

  38. Brummagem Joe says:

    Do these right wing experts remind you of Peter and the Dike? No matter what the wall of water, er evidence, against them they advance some minor objection. Ok Cholera can be fatal but aspirin has proved successful in some cases. What is it. The water, were they dropped on the head as an infant, genetic, playing football without a helmet. What is it?

  39. wr says:

    PD Shaw — Or they could figure out how to help their citizens. I mean, the ones who aren’t billionaires.

    Oh, sorry, these are Republicans we’re talking about.

  40. anjin-san says:

    You have to wonder if he is trying to pull a Palin. Make a big noise on the national scene, become a hero to the fringe right, resign, and cash in.

  41. anjin-san says:

    Plunk. Texas is broke. No collective bargaining there. Like I said the other day, have you ever been right about anything?

  42. James Joyner says:

    @Hmm: “Didn’t you use this phrase yourself last week, James? Not that this is some egregious sin, but if you’re going to (rightly) criticize others…”

    I used it as a title to a post rebutting the notion.

    @Gustapher: “What happened in the 1890s? Was there something specific, or is this just an arbitrary line in the sand that makes Abraham Lincoln’s use of it ok, but the current Democrats’ use of it not ok?”

    I wrote a whole post a couple days ago about the Quorum Rule. The Speaker of the House in 1890 basically cracked down on it and ended it as a tool in the United States Congress.

    Unlike the filibuster — which I think has been grossly abused by both parties over the last 25 years — it was never intended as a means to stop voting. It was a protection against a specific kind of procedural abuse, which has itself been abused by those it was seeking to protect.

  43. tom p says:

    Coming late to this conversation…

    “Gee, who is famous for saying “Go f*ck yourself?”
    Tom p, lol j/k”

    And did it ever not fit??? Does it not fit now? GA…. I have defended you on an occasion or 3, (admitedly, RARE….)

    But please tell me when those words crossed the line of acceptable conversation… Maybe I got a little too excited, but when some a**hole is reaching into my pocket and taking a thousand or two….

    Sorry, I reserve the right to call a leach for what they are.

  44. An Interested Party says:

    “Ooooo…. Forgot about Cheney.”

    Yes, I’m sure many have, or would like to…

    “***I don’t think that’s true, so…….***table?”

    You’re the one who made the original claim, so it is on you to prove it…

  45. Have A Nice G.A. says:

    j/k= just kidding…….I love your passion Tom 🙂

    ***You’re the one who made the original claim, so it is on you to prove it…***table?

  46. Raoul says:

    Most of the pension/healthcare per capita costs overwhelmingly favor police and firemen’s unions- the two unions the governor has exempted on his CBA bill. Walker is a liar, thug and at service to the very wealthy- the phone call shows all three-devastating.

  47. James Joyner says:

    Testing

    New

    Comment

    Thingie

  48. Pug says:

    Collective bargaining by public employee unions has nearly bankrupted every state.

    This leaves me wondering what has happened in Texas with its $27 billion deficit? Maybe just a little of the public union bashing by Republicans is scapegoating?

  49. Steve H says:

    Except you guys DID know about this. It was a rally cry by liberals to drum up votes and you either know it or are believing a lie when you say it was not. Oh how fast people clam up, and how quickly memories fade when trying to pursue the masses of your lies. Here is some proof on an uber liberal progressive blog, dated before the election!

    http://bloggingblue.com/2010/11/01/scott-walker-wants-state-employee-unions-to-walk-away-from-the-negotiating-table/

  50. Robert Levine says:

    Here is some proof on an uber liberal progressive blog, dated before the election!

    The link says nothing at all about restricting collective bargaining rights.

    I live in Wisconsin. I’m an elected union official. And I follow the news very carefully. If Walker had said anything about all about restricting bargaining rights for public sector employees prior to the election, I missed it, as did all the unions in the state. And, if he had, he might well have lost the election; as events have shown, it have energized his opposition big-time.

    Which is probably why he didn’t talk about it during the campaign. Much better to wait until after being elected before claiming a mandate to do things that he didn’t campaign on.