Showing solidarity in opposition of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s (R) Budget Repair Bill, which would effectively eliminate collective bargaining for public employees, citizens have continued to flood Wisconsin’s state Capitol today. The Senate was expected to pass Walker’s proposal yesterday, but in support of the workers, the Democratic members of the Senate left the state, leaving the Republicans unable to achieve a quorum for the vote
This morning, in apparent opposition of the protests, MSNBC host Joe Scarborough said that the unions “free-ride” and are “greedy”:
SCARBOROUGH: Are you kidding me? They are shutting down the state. You see these young students, mike, instead of trying to end a war, they are trying to make sure state employees don’t have to pay off 3 percent of their salary to our — or 4 percent of their salary for health care benefits. They are trying to make sure that these people do not have to pay what every other American who works outside of government has to pay. Are you serious?
You’re going to shut down schools because you have a union that is so greedy that they want their people to be held to different standard than working class americans who sometimes pay 15 percent of their salaries to benefits? […] hey, we are not going to let you get a free ride on benefits.
As TPM noted, Walker’s assault on unions comes less than a month after the state’s fiscal bureau — Wisconsin’s equivalent of the Congressional Budget Office — stated that Wisconsin is not in need of austerity proposals, and that the current budget shortfall is a direct result of the tax cut policies Walker put in place during his first days in office. In fact, Wisconsin could conclude the fiscal year with a surplus without Walker’s bill. Conveniently, the unions that supported Walker’s campaign — the State Patrol, local police, and fire departments — would stay completely unchanged under the new bill. Wisconsin state employee unions already made $100 million in concessions last December. Now, Walker’s new proposal would effectively take away the right of state employees to collectively bargain for everything from vacation, sick hours, and even the hours they work.