After he was elected in November, but before he took office, then Gov.-elect Scott Walker managed to squash contract negotiations between the lame duck government and public employee unions. He argued, reasonably, that he ought to get a real bite at the apple when he took office — a typical argument against any major action during lame duck legislating.
But as he waged this fight, he asserted that he might decertify the unions completely. That, it turns out, is outside his gubernatorial authority. But it was a huge tell that he planned to go after unions in a dramatic way.
“Anything from the decertification all the way through modifications to the current laws in place,” Walker told the Milwaukee Press Club in December. “The bottom line is we want to have a better ability to control what we do when it comes to wages and benefits.”
It turns out destroying the unions outright isn’t an arrow in his quiver. That’s something only the unions themselves can do. But he could achieve the same basic goal by simply not negotiating with them, if Republicans change the law.
Here’s a report from the Madison News 3 on this.
Brian Beutler is TPM's senior congressional reporter. Since 2009, he's led coverage of health care reform, Wall Street reform, taxes, the GOP budget, the government shutdown fight, and the debt limit fight. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.