Tag Archives: layoffs

Waiting For The Other Shoe To Drop…

So it’s generally been a pretty good couple of days all things considered.  There was the big rally at the Capitol Square on Saturday the 26th that drew between 70,000 – 100,000 people.  Of these people in attendance there were very few Walker / Tea Party supporters…. and when I say very few I mean like less than 50 people in total.  Not too shabby.  Walker went on “Meet the Press” on Sunday morning where he regurgitated the same old garbage that he’s been saying for weeks now.  David Gregory actually held his feet to the fire a bit (of course not the level I’d prefer, but you can’t have everything) which you could tell was irritating Walker.  I think his generally insecurity as a person came out a bit when he started to have to answer a few “big boy” questions.  Also on Sunday the government tried to remove the protesters from the Capitol, ostensibly for cleaning purposes, at 4 PM.  There was an announcement made earlier in the day that this would happen and at 4 PM the police started asking people to leave.  Some did leave, but others were determined not to and didn’t.  The interesting thing though was that the police did not step in, start arresting people, and hauling them out.  As always it appears the police know what side they’re truly on and are really cool with the protesters (as they are protesters themselves!).  Finally a new New York Times / CBS News poll was released today showed that nationwide the US public “oppose weakening the bargaining rights of public employee unions by a margin of nearly two to one: 60 percent to 33 percent.”  This is an increase in percentage points for opposing weakening rights of previous polls from the past couple of weeks.   The poll also suggested that Americans would rather increase taxes that decrease services.  Interesting.

Which brings me to my pessimistic blog post title.  Walker is due to release his FY2011-2013 budget tomorrow (3/1/2011) at a press conference.  No one was expecting it to be very pleasant to begin with, but based on the fact that it’s one of the last major weapons in his arsenal that he has complete control over and with the heat he’s been taking I’m expecting him to be more brutal and vindictive with it.  The reasons for this belief are that he acts like a spoiled brat (not bratwurst mind you, but the ornery child type) to begin with and we all know how those types like to lash out when they’re not getting their way.  Another reason for this is to possible try to prove that his two threats last week to start laying workers off weren’t just paper tigers.  In case I haven’t mentioned it he first threatened to layoff 1500 people if the Wisconsin 14 didn’t come back and pass his debt restructuring scheme by last Friday and then warned that he’d “have to” layoff 5000-6000 people if his plans weren’t passed by Tuesday (tomorrow).  We’ll see what happens there as there was a new article put out today that details his debt restructuring scheme as nothing more than borrowing money on a 10 year loan which will actually cost the Wisconsin taxpayer $14 Million the first 2 years.  If he succeeds in this plan he’ll be joining the ranks of all the other governors that he constantly scolds for “kicking the can down the road” and not “dealing with the problem today.”  Hypocrite.  We’ll also see where he gives his budget press release from as even though they failed to clear the Capitol building last night, they are slowly but quietly trying to get everyone out as they’re not allowing anyone into the building any more.  Mayor Dave Cieslewicz has a great blog post on it today.

All that said I have to leave this post with one final thought.  I stumbled across the following story today which sums up the whole state of the US economy and Tea Party politics:

“A public union employee, a tea party activist, and a CEO are sitting at a table with a plate of a dozen cookies in the middle of it.  The CEO takes 11 cookies, turns to the tea partier and says, ‘Watch out for that union guy. He wants a piece of your cookie.’ “

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Walker Threatens Layoffs To Solve Problem He Created

This morning Scott Walker continued his campaign to strip the bargaining rights of Wisconsin’s workers by threatening to layoff 1500 employees starting next week if the Wisconsin 14 (Wisconsin Democratic State Senators) doesn’t come back to work in Madison (Link 1).  He claims that in order to realize savings to solve the current fiscal year’s budget (FY09-11) he needs to have some debt refinanced by this Friday the 25th which requires Senate approval and because it’s a budget related activity it requires a quorum.  We all know that the Wisconsin 14 can’t come back to vote on this debt restructuring because as soon as they’re back in Madison and the quorum is achieved the first bill that will be voted on won’t be the debt restructuring, but the so called “Budget Repair Bill” that would strip workers’ collective bargaining rights.

So how did we get here?  We’ll its actually Scott Walker’s own creation.  The current FY09-11 “budget crisis” is actually his creation.  As documented by the Capital Times on February 16th (Link 2), the State Fiscal Bureau actually projected at the end of January 2011 a $120 M surplus by the end of the FY09-11 which ends in June 2011.  This surplus was achieved by all State employees bargaining on good faith for the past 2 years with previous Governor (Jim Doyle) and continuing to take 8 furlough days a year, which translates into about a 5% paycut per year.  Fearing Walker would try to try to inflict further harm on the State employees and Wisconsin’s budget the Doyle administration pushed for the approval of the negotiated State contracts with the Unions that would lock in the savings for the State and the job safety for the State employees before he left office in December 2010 as he still had a Democratic majority in both the State Assembly and State Senate.

This was the plan and it seemed doable until Walker worked behind the scenes to surprise people.  The contracts were approved by the Assembly, but when they came up for approval in the Senate 2 Democrats shocked everyone and voted with the Republicans to deny the contracts (Link 3).  These 2 Democrats were the Senate Majority Leader Russ Decker and Jeff Plale.  Suspiciously enough 2 weeks later in January 2011 it was announced that Jeff Plale would be joining the Walker administration earning $90,000 / year as the administrator of the Division of State Facilities (Link 4),

So how did that cause the need for a budget repair bill for FY09-11?  Within weeks of being sworn in as Governor in January 2011 Walker and his new Republican majority in both the Assembly and Senate passed $140 M in new spending for his supporters (Link 5).

So what does this all mean?  Walker is more interested in holding 1500 people hostage, who didn’t do anything to deserve this, all so that he can try to use public pressure to bring the Wisconsin 14 back to Madison which would seal the passage of his “Budget Repair Bill” on a pure party line vote and ultimately remove collective bargaining rights from Wisconsin workers that they have had them for over 50 years and also kept labor peace for the State and the people of Wisconsin.

  1. “Walker warns state workers layoff notices could come next week if bill isn’t passed”
  2. “Walker gins up ‘crisis’ to reward cronies”
  3. “Doyle Surpised By Decker’s Vote”
  4. “Former Democratic senator Jeff Plale lands job in Walker administration”
  5. “Walker Concocts ‘Scoop and Toss’ Borrowing Scheme to Pay for $140 Million in Special Interest Spending