Talking Points Memo: Walker’s Budget Would Make WI Labor Mediator A Political Appointee

March 15, 2011- As part of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's biennial budget, the general counsel for the commission that handles labor-management disputes in the state would become a political appointee. And according to The Wisconsin State Journal, that commission, the Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission (WERC), will now have final say in disputes that were previously covered under contract provisions for state employees.

"It puts this person is a very difficult position ethically," George Fleischli, a former WERC general counsel, told the State Journal.

Peter Davis, the current general counsel, has held the position since 1981.

"Being a civil servant, he doesn't have to worry about whether we're going to agree with him or going to get upset with him, and we really need that," commission chair Judy Neumann said.

When asked about the proposal, Wisconsin Democratic Party Communications Director Graeme Zielinski did not mince words.

"They've burned down labor's barn and now they want to salt the earth," Zielinski told TPM, saying that with Walker "everything is political."

"This is just one more protection that's stripped," he said.


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