As union leaders prepare to fight a budget repair bill that will strip away much of their bargaining power, Governor Scott Walker says he’s prepared for unrest.
Union officials have vowed to fight the bill in every way possible, which could involve workers walking off the job. Governor Walker believes it won’t come to that and that most state employees will understand why the sweeping changes are needed.
The Governor’s budget repair bill would limit collective bargaining for most state employees to wages, along with several other changes. Union leaders have described the provisions as an assault on the rights of state workers, and are already calling for action next week.
The Governor has notified union leaders that negotiation extensions on their current contracts will be allowed to expire next month. A letter was also sent out to state workers on Friday explaining the proposed changes to their benefits.
If union workers take job actions that could limit state services, Walker says contingency plans are in place.
That could be particularly important in state prisons if union guards act to oppose the changes. The Governor says the National Guard has been told to be ready if needed, although they have not been called up yet. Walker says there are many things that would have to happen before that action is taken.
Walker says he’s prepared for the worst, but is still expecting the best from state workers.