Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker's office has released email exchanges showing ongoing negotiations to the controversial budget repair bill. The emails show Walker's office willing to make concessions on certain portions of the bill in order to get the runaway Democrats (aka "Fleebaggers") to come back to Wisconsin and vote on the bill.
14 Democratic WI Senators left the state mid February and have been hiding in Illinois to avoid having to vote on the budget repair bill.
Some key concessions on the part of Walker include:
• Public employee union bargaining over wages would no longer be limited to the rate of inflation.
• Unions would be allowed to bargain over certain economic issues, including mandatory overtime, performance bonuses, hazardous duty pay and classroom size. On this set of issues, both labor and management would have to agree to discuss them for bargaining to happen.
• Unions could bargain over workplace safety, but that would be limited to workers' physical health and safety. It would not allow bargaining over hours, overtime, sick leave or family leave, work schedules or vacation.
• Unions would have to vote every three years to remain active, with the first of those votes coming within one year of the bill becoming law. The current version of the bill would require unions to vote to recertify every year - starting this April - and require them to get at least 51% of workers' votes.
• Employees of the University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics Authority would not lose all union bargaining rights.
• The Legislature's budget committee would have to approve changes to state health programs for the poor sought by the Walker administration. The budget-repair bill gives Walker broad powers to reshape those Medicaid health programs, which cover more than 1 million state residents.
The email exchange can be found here (12 page PDF).
Meanwhile, former Democratic former D.C. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty offered some rare Democratic support for Walker in an appearance on MSNBC's Morning Joe show:
When discussion turned to Walker's anti-union push, Fenty jumped right in.
"This is kind of what I faced in four years as mayor," Fenty told hosts Mike Barnicle and Mika Brzezinski. "He's right on the substance, I think. I tend to agree with him on the need for collective bargaining reform. But he's also right on the politics. I just don't understand why the legislature has been given this pass to go to another state and not do what they were sworn to do, and that's to take a vote. Unfortunately for Gov. Walker, he hasn't been able to get that out. He needs to point the finger a little bit more at them and say. 'Listen, they should take a vote. All I want is for them to vote up or down, and I will be fine with whatever they decide.'"
Brzezinski asked Fenty if he agreed with what Walker is doing.
"The substance of it, I do," Fenty said. "Most governors and mayors would love to be able to manage their team without the interference of collective bargaining. ... I believe that managers have the ability to set fair wages, and to set fair hours, and to reward people or hold them accountable. I think it's a new day. I think a lot of these collective bargaining agreements are completely outdated."
When politicians are campaigning and they promise to work towards fixing their state budgets, hard decisions have to made when the public gives them that chance.
Walker took the challenge and he is standing by it and the emails show he is negotiating in good faith, completely blowing assertions to the contrary from runaway Dems, right out of the water.