April 24, 2014

Union head says no need to expand Act 10

The head of one of the state’s largest police unions is firing at back at comments from Governor Scott Walker about expanding Act 10.

During an event in Milwaukee Monday, Governor Walker indicated he would be open to limiting collective bargaining for police and firefighters, much like he did two years ago for most other public employees. Wisconsin Professional Police Association executive director Jim Palmer says that doesn’t match up with past statements from Walker, who made it clear in the past that police officers and firefighters out to retain their rights to bargain over the wages, hours, and working conditions.

Police and fire unions were left out of the changes two years largely because of concerns about what could happen if those workers walked off the job. Walker on Monday said he believes those fears have lessened now that Act 10 has been in place for two years and workers can see that “things worked out.”

AUDIO: Jim Palmer, WPPA (:53)

Palmer believes the change of heart is more about Walker’s presidential hopes than it is about public policy, with the governor “trying to appeal to a larger audience.” The governor is widely believed to be considering a 2016 bid for the Republican nomination. The state is also hosting the summer meeting of the National Governor’s Association this weekend

Walker did clarify that he has no plans to pursue the change himself, but might consider it if lawmakers were to pass legislation. Palmer says that’s likely enough to get some lawmakers thinking about introducing a bill. However, says they should recognize that most Wisconsin residents have no desire to renew the debate over Act 10.