Speaking at Ronald Reagan’s alma mater of Eureka College on Thursday, in front of a banner that read “Wreaking Havoc on Washington,” republican presidential contender Scott Walker promised to fight labor unions at the federal level, much like he did as governor of Wisconsin.
Walker said as president (one of his many “day one” promises) that he would prohibit the federal government from deducting union dues from federal workers. Workers can already voluntarily choose not to have the money taken out, but Walker wants to do away with the deductions all together, a move union leaders have vigorously opposed when it has been put forward by congress.
Walker (once again) talked about Reagan’s firing of air traffic controllers in 1981, before recounting how he “didn’t back down” when he eliminated the collective bargaining power of Wisconsin public workers (whom he compared to ISIS) and passing the disastrous “right to work” (RTW) law.
The Democratic National Committee, through spokesman TJ Helmstetter, described Walker’s proposals as another example of his “hostility towards working class families and middle class families and now wants to bring those harmful policies to the entire country.”
This renewed focus on unions puts Walker back in familiar territory. Walker has practically built his career on fighting labor unions. In 2011, six weeks after first taking office, Walker proposed effectively ending collective bargaining for nearly all public workers in Wisconsin. This led to massive public protests and made Wisconsin the center of a national debate over worker’s rights.
Anger over the law (Act 10), among a variety of other initiatives Walker and his republican-led legislature pushed through, led to a petition drawing over 900,000 signatures, forcing Walker to win a recall election in 2012, the first governor in U.S. history to defeat such an effort.
In March of this year, Walker signed a law that made Wisconsin the 25th ‘right to work’ state, a law that prohibits private-sector unions from requiring workers to join and pay union dues as a condition of their employment. RTW laws are established by right-wing politicians and their corporate backers to weaken the power of workers and their unions.
Wisconsin has regressed tremendously under Governor Walker’s leadership. Be it education, worker’s rights, women’s rights, or that of the sick and hungry, a Walker administration in Washington would indeed “Wreak havoc” on everything America has worked so hard to achieve.