Walker: “Well, we’re going to start in a couple weeks with our budget adjustment bill…
The first step is, we’re going to deal with collective bargaining for all
public employee unions, because you use divide and conquer.”
The following is a letter written by a Wisconsin law enforcement officer who wishes to remain anonymous:
“Subject: Debate Question for Walker
Date: Wed, 30 May 2012
I have a question that I would like Governor Walker to answer.
When Act 10 was introduced it was well publicized that two groups of workers would be exempt from the legislation, the firefighters and police. This was done for political reasons I’m sure, not because Walker actually respects these workers. I believe that Walker was worried that Department of Corrections employees would go on strike and therefore local police and especially State Patrol officers would be called in to man the prisons during the strike. Also, a lot of conservative people tend to look at police and firefighters as they do the military; they are considered the “heroes” and therefore should not be touched by this legislation. Walker knew that by stripping police and firefighters of their rights that he would appear to be anti-American and accused of “Not supporting the troops.”
So what Walker did was exempt all firefighters and nearly all police, at least the police that people thought about daily. Walker did not exempt any state police agency except for the Wisconsin State Patrol. Therefore, University of Wisconsin Police all over the state were not exempted, DNR wardens were not exempted, Department of Justice special agents were not exempted, Department of Revenue special agents were not exempted, and of course the Capitol Police Department was not exempted. When Act 10 was introduced it created outrage, and tens of thousands of citizens showed up at the State Capitol. Every day there were more than 500 police officers from every corner of the state summoned to protect the Capitol and especially the Republican legislators and the Governor who created this divisive law. Since then there have been several large rallies at the Capitol in support of workers’ rights. In every one of those events it has been up to Capitol Police, UW Police, DNR wardens and State Patrol to provide security to the building and its occupants.
The police officers who lost their rights stand in solidarity with all working people who feel that collective bargaining should be a right. The fact that these agencies were not exempted from Act 10 while every other police officer in the state was is shameful and disrespectful to the men and women who serve and protect on the state level. I believe that Governor Walker owes these people an explanation and furthermore, I don’t think that the general public was made aware of this divisive decision.
The Capitol Police, UW Police and the State Patrol were all in the same union — WLEA (Wisconsin Law Enforcement Association). Therefore, the union was divided and conquered and Capitol Police and UW Police now have no representation at all.
During last week’s televised debate, Walker and Barrett were given the opportunity to ask each other a question. I would like to see Tom Barrett ask Scott Walker why it is that he felt that these agencies were not worthy of the same protections as every other police officer and firefighter in the state. How did he decide which departments he would exempt on the state level? And why the officers that he has had to rely on most, who are closest to him in the Capitol building, were treated in such a disrespectful way.
I think that Walker would be completely unprepared to answer this question and he’d be caught off guard. I think it would be a very clear example of his “divide and conquer” strategy for all people to see.”
____________________________________________________________________Veteran labor attorney Bruce Ehlke explains how Act 10 violates workers’ freedom of association and rolls back labor law over 150 years.