Yesterday, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker warned that “dire consequences” could result if his anti-union tainted budget bill fails to pass, stating that 1500 could be laid of by July and another 6000 thereafter. Walker claims that his bill isn’t about attacking public unions, an odd claim to make as he insists on continuing to attack the institutional viability of the state’s public employee unions. Especially as those very unions have already agreed to the increases in pension, health care and benefit costs that Walker has requested and with that he should now be satisfied.
But there is now a new twist to the unfolding drama underway in Madison, the state stands to lose $46.6 Million dollars in federal aid for transportation. This could end up hurting Wisconsin’s private sector workers, union and non-union as well as their employers. To wit: “Under an obscure provision of federal labor law, states risk losing federal funds should they eliminate “collective bargaining rights” that existed at the time when federal assistance was first granted. The provision, known as “protective arrangements” or “Section 13C arrangements,” is meant as a means of cushioning union (and even some non-union) members who, while working on local projects, are affected by federal grants. It also could potentially hamstring governors like Walker who want dramatic changes to labor laws in their states. Wisconsin received $74 million in federal transit funds this fiscal year. Of that, $46.6 million would be put at risk should the collective-bargaining bill come to pass — in the process creating an even more difficult fiscal situation than the one that, ostensibly, compelled Walker to push the legislation in the first place.”
According to Sam Stein, one of the reporters commenting on this latest development, Walker and his aides are aware of this but they have refused to return calls when queried as to what alternatives they might try to affect so as to mitigate the problems resulting from the loss of $46.6 million. One can only wonder to what degree Scott Walker has actually sat down and thought about the outcome of what seems to be a situation fraught with an ever increasing degree of recklessness and possibly dangerous brinkmanship. Wisconsin is one of the states that allow its citizens to affect a recall of any and all elected officials after they have been in office for one year. Could Scott Walker being setting himself up for a truncated term in office as a result of the mounting drama and anger now on display in Madison? Who knows, it’s certainly too soon to make that predication, but at the rate at which this story seems to be unfolding, anything could happen and the topic of recall has already made the rounds at least a few times. Stay tuned.
Steven J. Gulitti
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker Warns Of ‘Dire Consequences’ If Budget Bill Fails To Pass
Gov. Walker Informed That Bill Targeting Unions May Cost State $46 Million In Federal Funds
Laws governing recall in Wisconsin