Sunday, October 23rd, 2016

Tom Barrett lies about Walker’s record on labor


Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett is lying about Governor Scott Walker’s support for private sector unions.

Gubernatorial candidate Tom Barrett charged Tuesday that, if re-elected to office, Gov. Scott Walker would finish an assault against public workers begun during his first 15 months in office and turn Wisconsin into a right-to-work state.

“There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that what Gov. Walker did was the beginning of a divide-and-conquer strategy that was intended to make Wisconsin a right-to-work state,” Barrett told reporters at a press conference at the Wisconsin Professional Police Association offices in downtown Madison.

Walker supports private sector unions and even the “prevailing wage” for public projects, and he is opposed to Right to Work legislation. Just ask Terrance McGowan, business manager of Operating Engineers Local 139, who endorsed Walker.

McGowan said he spoke with Walker’s campaign at the time to underscore that the union was in favor of prevailing wage laws and was opposed to right-to-work laws.

“Scott Walker told me directly that he believed in prevailing wage,” McGowan said. “I tried to hold some dialogue with him when the collective-bargaining issue went down. I am a union man. I believe in collective bargaining. The one thing he assured me, time and again, is that he believes in private sector unions. I don’t know whatever beef he had with public sector unions. But he said he believed in private sector unions, and that’s why I believe I have no reason to believe that right to work would be a threat from his office.”

So why is Barrett using scare tactics and lies?

Barrett defended a position he took when Act 10, the bill that eliminated most collective bargaining rights for state workers, was first introduced in February 2011.

At that time, Barrett said the bill should apply to all unions, including police and firefighters, so as not to pit public workers against one another.

As I pointed out before, Barrett not only wanted police and firefighters to be covered by Act 10, Barrett lamented the loss of savings to local government because they were not included.

In a letter sent by Barrett to legislative leaders prior to Act 10’s passage,

“The City will be forced to continue to pay the entire employee contribution for police and fire pensions, missing out on savings of approximately $14.4 million annually. This is compared to the pension savings from other unions and general city employees that will only total $8.3 million annually.”

So Barrett is lying about his own record as well as Walker’s position on Right to Work. How is lying about your opponents suppose to calm the political climate in Wisconsin, as Barrett promises to do?

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