Walker threatens workers with layoffs
Gov. Scott Walker gave notice last Friday that up to 1,500 state workers would be laid off if his budget repair bill is not passed within 15 days.
The bill cannot be passed until at least one of the 14 Senate Democrats returns to Wisconsin.
The editorial board discussed Walker’s threats of layoffs and the Senate Democrats’ involvement in the issue.
Several members of the editorial board viewed the possible layoffs as more than a threat. One member of the board said that based on Walker’s previous actions, if this is what he wants to do it is what he’s going to do.
However, almost all of the editorial board was confused as to why Walker is taking this action.
Budgets usually take a while to pass; sometimes they don’t pass until a year later. But Walker’s budget repair bill has been around for three weeks. Why does it need to be passed immediately? He’s saying that the economic downfall of not passing the budget right away is going to be bad enough to layoff that many people. It’s not right.
One editorial board member called the situation disheartening. The whole idea behind the budget is that we wouldn’t have to lay off any state workers by cutting their benefits. Yet now he’s going to layoff 1,500 workers. The board member said it doesn’t make sense.
Walker ran with a campaign of creating new jobs, and he’s doing the exact opposite, one board member added. If the budget is passed, Wisconsin will see a mass exodus of public workers, and won’t be able to bring more workers in.
Those of the editorial board who spoke were in agreement that it’s a red flag that he’s rushing to push the budget through.
The layoff threat could be a bluff only meant to get the 14 Senate Democrats to come back to Wisconsin, several board members agreed.
In a vote, the editorial board was in disagreement about whether or not Walker is bluffing about laying off 1,500 workers just to get the Senate Democrats back in Wisconsin. Five members voted yes, and six voted no; there were no abstentions.
It’s just so underhanded, one member said. It’s like Walker is saying, ‘I’m going to punish you because you disagree with me.’ He can’t think of any other options besides punishing those who agree with the Senate Democrats.
Whether or not it’s a bluff, the Senate Democrats should not come back, many of the editorial board said.
The possible layoffs are bad, and it would be easy to give up now, but in the long run the bill and the loss of collective bargaining will be much worse.
There was some disagreement on this issue within the board. One member said that the Democrats need to come back because by being gone, they’re not performing the job that they were elected to do. It’s a lame attempt by Walker to hold layoffs over their head. Not only is it lame, but it will only keep the Democrats from coming back.
Several board members disagreed and said the Democrats are doing their duty by staying in Illinois. As soon as they cross the state border, the budget will pass. Until any of the Republicans are willing to sit down and discuss amendments, the Democrats shouldn’t come back.
Based on all that has happened up to date with the budget repair bill issue, the editorial board voted on whether or not the Senate Democrats should return from Illinois. The board leaned towards no, with a vote of 0-8-3.