February 20, 2011- Next time you see some news footage of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, check out the flames coming from his pants on fire.
That's because the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel (MJS) examined Walker's recent mind-boggling claim that "collective bargaining is fully intact" in his legislation that has drawn as many as 70,000 pro-union protesters to Madison. And what the MJS found was that Walker flunked the truth-o-meter test.
In fact, he not only flunked, he excelled in lying. According to the MJS, "To now say now say collective bargaining would remain 'fully intact' is not just false, it's ridiculously false."
Walker seems either ignorant or willfully deceptive as to the difference between collective bargaining and civil service regulations, conflating the two for the purposes of trying to break the unions but denying that he is trying to achieve that very goal which makes unions a source of protection for labor: collective bargaining.
As the MJS noted in its "PolitiFact" analysis:
If Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker isn't trying to strip most collective bargaining rights from public employees, then why do workers keep pouring into Madison by the thousands to demonstrate against him?
Many state, local government and public school employees — including those represented by the largest state workers union — have said they would be willing to pay more for pensions and health insurance, as called for in a budget-repair bill introduced by Walker.
But the workers continue to protest provisions in the bill that would restrict most public employee unions to bargaining only over wages, and then only within caps.
It's the central issue in the protests, which have drawn national attention.
And yet on the morning of Feb. 18, 2011 — a day after Democratic state senators fled to Illinois to prevent a vote on the bill — Walker made a startling declaration in a Milwaukee radio interview.
That startling and whopper of a lie statement was Walker asserting that his bill to crush public unions would leave "collective bargaining … fully intact."
A Reuters article summarizes the basics of Walker's anti-union bill:
* Walker wants to limit collective bargaining to the issue of wages, and cap wage increases to the rate of inflation, with a voter referendum needed for larger increases.
* Walker's proposal would also prohibit employer collection of union dues and members of collective bargaining units would not be required to pay dues. Contracts would be limited to one year, and collective bargaining units would have to take annual votes to maintain certification as a union.
* Walker said collective bargaining takes too long and the cuts need to be made immediately. He said the alternative is layoffs of more than 10,000 workers.
* Certain employees, including local law enforcement and fire employees, would be exempt from the collective bargaining changes.
So, the only purpose of any public union (with the exception of police and fire unions) would be to negotiate salaries, and then only up to the rate of inflation, which is probably what the workers would receive anyway. In essence, the public union ceases to exist as any sort of entity that would protect workers' rights, ensure healthy working conditions, and negotiate benefits. It would be a front organization, like in the old Soviet Union, just there to be subject to executive branch directives and to trot out for purposes of partisan political purposes, a Potemkin hollow entity with no powers.
As BuzzFlash revealed yesterday, Scott Walker was anything but transparent when it came to excessive pay raises for his political cronies on his Milwaukee County staff.
And now his pants are on fire over lies on collective bargaining and union busting.