Posted In: ALEC, Uncategorized, Wisconsin, Workers' Rights
At a recent Governmental Research Association conference, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker made an interesting comparison between himself and a wartime president:
“The position I pushed is not unlike the principle that Franklin Delano Roosevelt—not exactly a conservative—pushed as well when it came to public sector collective bargaining. He felt that there wasn’t a need in the public sector to have collective bargaining because the government is the people. We are the people. And so what we’ve done is to be able to empower our great employees, to affirm them.”
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That’s certainly a bold claim made by a governor who has time and time again attacked the rights of workers, especially those who are not his political allies. In a response to Walker’s claims, Roosevelt’s grandson James Roosevelt said Walker “could not be more off-base.”
“Not only was President Roosevelt a staunch advocate for labor rights, he was a proponent of just and peaceful labor relations. The kind of disharmony brought about by Gov. Walker’s attack on workers’ rights — to include threats to call in the Wisconsin National Guard as his enforcers — is exactly what President Roosevelt sought to prevent in establishing the National Labor Relations Board as a safeguard for workers’ rights,” said Roosevelt.
This is the same governor who was caught on tape telling one of his top donors he would “work on these unions” and “divide and conquer.”
“Gov. Scott Walker is not a leader in the mold of FDR, and he’s no reformer.”
Far from being a historic leader, the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) recently named Walker one of the nation’s worst governors, citing the governor’s mismanagement, partisan politics and cronyism. According to the report:
Opponents raised questions about whether Gov. Walker was attempting to carry out the anti-union agenda of Koch Industries, the family corporation of anti-union billionaires Charles and David Koch. Koch Industries had contributed $43,000 to Gov. Walker’s campaign…The Koch Industries Political Action Committee gave $1 million to the Republican Governors Association, which spent almost $65,000 on independent expenditures backing Gov. Walker and spent more than $3 million on ads and mailers attacking his opponent.
It’s incredibly clear that many of his policies – many using model legislation from the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) - are aimed at disenfranchising workers as well as public education. In Walker’s most recent budget, he expanded the state’s voucher system by directing taxpayer money to unaccountable private schools.
“There were communities all over the state that said they did not want voucher expansion. This was about the ability to privatize education.” said Betsy Kippers, president of the Wisconsin Education Association Council.
Walker claims that many of his policies have been done in the name of job creation and budget concerns; however, during his time in office, he has driven Wisconsin to 44th in the nation for private-sector job creation, according to the Bureau of Labor statistics, and 49th in economic outlook according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
Of course, it comes back to promoting the interests of his donors, over 60 percent of whom come from outside the state of Wisconsin.
“He has not listened to the people. The voucher expansion is a prime example of that,” said Kippers.