By Cynthia McCabe
If Wisconsin’s Gov. Scott Walker assumed he’d have the unwavering backing of his Republican gubernatorial colleagues around the country as he seeks to strip public employees of their rights, he appears to be mistaken.
From Florida to Iowa, governors are publicly stating that they don’t agree with Walker’s scorched-earth approach to revoking the right of public workers in his state to organize. Tens of thousands have marched on the Wisconsin Tstatehouse in Madison during the past week, in protest of Walker’s tactics.
That outpouring of sentiment by public workers and their supporters has rippled out from Wisconsin, with similar uprisings growing in Ohio, Idaho and Indiana.
Florida’s Republican Gov. Rick Scott told Tallahassee’s radio station WFLA FM, “My belief is as long as people know what they’re doing, collective bargaining is fine.”
Iowa’s Gov. Terry Branstad said in his weekly news conference Monday that he doesn’t favor Walker’s approach. “I think we should appeal to their (unions’) fairness and equality in doing what’s right and come back and work something out that’s more reasonable that won’t result in the level of layoffs that we’re looking at.”
In Pennsylvania, Gov. Tom Corbett told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, “We’ll begin negotiations with the public-sector unions and anticipate we’ll conduct those in good faith.”
Indiana’s Gov. Mitch Daniels said that he’s not sending the state police after anybody in his state and said that an approach like Walker’s is too alienating and potentially jeopardizes meaningful education reform.
“I’m not gonna divert a single trooper from their job of protection the Indiana public. I trust that people’s consciences will bring them back to work,” Daniels said. “For reasons I’ve explained more than once I thought there was a better time and place to have this very important and legitimate issue raised.” He added, “I’ll also say I think it would have the potential — just tactically — to possibly reduce or wreck the chances for education reform and local government reform and criminal justice reform and the things we have a wonderful chance to do.”