by Tim Reed
Although Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has repeatedly refused to give a straight answer when asked if he would sign union killing right-to-work legislation if it reached his desk, it seems we now have an answer straight from the horse’s mouth.
Filmed on January 18, 2011, just days before Walker was sworn in as governor, the clip is part of a larger documentary, “As Goes Janesville” that follows the lives of three Wisconsin residents searching for work after their local GM plant closes down. The filmmaker, Brad Lichtenstein, who has done work on democratic campaigns in the past, was filming the efforts of a local community bank president to create new jobs in the community when he captured the conversation between Walker and local billionaire Diane Hendricks.
Hendricks, the owner of ABC supply who Forbes estimates is worth upwards of $2.8 billion, certainly seems to have received the answer she wanted. Hendricks’ more than $519,000 in contributions has made her Walker’s single largest donor and the largest known donor to a candidate in state history.
After asking what she could do to help turn Wisconsin into a “completely red” and “right-to-work” state, Walker replied that his “first step” would be to “divide and conquer” the unions, as you can read in the transcript below from the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel:
Hendricks: Any chance we’ll ever get to be a completely red state and work on these unions –
Walker: Oh, yeah.
Hendricks: – and become a right-to-work (state)? What can we do to help you?
Walker: Well, we’re going to start in a couple weeks with our budget adjustment bill. The first step is, we’re going to deal with collective bargaining for all public employee unions, because you use divide and conquer. So for us the base we’ve got for that is the fact that we’ve got – budgetarily we can’t afford not to. If we have collective bargaining agreements in place, there’s no way not only the state but local governments can balance things out. So you think city of Beloit, city of Janesville, any of the school districts, that opens the door once we do that. That’s your bigger problem right there.
Although Walker has refused to publicly admit his agenda to crush unions in Wisconsin and pull the financial rug out from under middle-class families, the video above shows that he certainly has no qualms with discussing his plans when there is the promise of a significant donation.
To find out more about Walker and his attacks on public education and the middle class in Wisconsin, visit the Wisconsin Education Association Council.