The report is that the unions will agree to “the financial aspects of [Gov. Scott] Walker’s budget-repair bill” (which is nice, because they don’t have the votes to stop them) in exchange for the removal of the collective bargaining provisions (which is – oddly enough! – also something that they don’t have the votes to stop). Walker’s response? Get back to work:
As thousands of protesters marched and chanted, Gov. Scott Walker on Saturday rejected an overture from a Democratic state senator that public employee unions had agreed to make financial sacrifices contained in the budget-repair bill in return for the right to bargain collectively.
Cullen Werwie, Walker’s spokesman, said in a statement that State Sen. Jon Erpenbach (D-Middleton) “should come to work and debate the bill while doing his job in Madison.
What this means, of course, is that the unions are sliding towards the edge of the cliff on this one, and they know it. The counter-protests seen here (H/T to The Other McCain for the above link) must be quietly putting Wisconsin Democrats in a panic: they can tell their own minions that it’s not a reflection of grassroots outrage (unlike their own artificial outrage), but they themselves know better. Hence, what looks like a fairly hasty attempt to try to firewall the disaster by trying to go for what looks like a deep concession.
Not that it’s a concession at all: as it stands, the moment those Democratic Senators walk through the door the state legislature can get on with making the “financial aspects” AND reforming collective bargaining practices. Why on earth would there be any further discussion on this issue? The relevant conversation took place last November.
Moe Lane (crosspost)