The last time Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) went after public sector unions it had “disastrous results” for him and for taxpayers. As Milwaukee County Executive in 2009, Walker tried to get rid of the unionized security guards at the county courthouse and replace them with contractors, which he promised would save the county money. The County Board rejected the idea, but in March of 2010 Walker “unilaterally ordered it,” claiming there was a budget emergency. Walker hired the British security contractor Wackenhut — of Kabul Embassy sex scandal fame — to replace the guards. Unfortunately for Walker and Milwaukee taxpayers, an arbiter later ruled that Walker had overstepped his authority, and ordered the county to reinstate the unionized workers, pay backwages, and pay tens of thousands of dollars in arbiter fees. As MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow pointed out last night, Walker’s “dress rehersal” for his current union busting effort may end up costing Milwaukee taxpayers an extra half a million dollars. Watch it:
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While his anti-union crusade proved to be a boondagle for Milwaukee County, Walker had escaped in time to wash his hands clean of it, as the arbiter’s ruling against didn’t come down until last month — after Walker had been sworn in as governor. Maddow also notes that the man put in charge of Wackenhut’s security at the courthouse had a criminal record and had served prison time.