Friday, January 30, 2015

GOP: Road-building, other projects drive push for wage-cutting laws

GOP Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald told WMTJ righty talk radio this morning he was confident that the Wisconsin Legislature would pass the so-called 'right-to-work law' and other bills that would end the required use of union-scale wages on all construction projects in the state with a dollar or more of any public funding.

That would include projects in the state capitol budget, like the proposed $197 million palace for the Wisconsin Department of Transportation in Madison, for example.

Fitzgerald said he thought these measures would pass before the legislature adopts a transportation budget to lower road-building borrowing costs, given that the transportation budget is facing a deficit separate from the rest of the state budget.

Cutting back these projects to what is affordable, or focusing on fixing the pot-holed roads is not on the table to systematically reduce WisDOT spending.

So the Operating Engineers who drive big road graders and stood with Walker when other unions opposed Act 10 are about to join the long list of people and groups manipulated by Walker for his partisan and personal advancement.

The high-profile union endorsement is still on Walker's website:
Oct 31, 2014 8:49:00 AM
Sussex -- The International Union of Operating Engineers Local 139 (IUOE) has endorsed Governor Scott Walker for re-election, Local 139 President and Business Manager Terry McGowan announced this morning alongside Governor Walker at Waukesha Metal Products in Sussex. 
“Thanks to Gov. Walker, not only are our men and women meeting the needs of a growing state economy by building roads and bridges, but Wisconsin is home to the largest number of distribution contractors, which enables us to supply affordable services of natural gas, electricity and telecommunications,” McGowan said. 
“Operating Engineers also partner with their contractors to provide reliable sanitary sewer systems, wastewater treatment facilities and make it possible to provide clean, safe drinking water to Wisconsin homes. Wisconsin furthermore is home to some of the largest, cross-country pipeline companies, which allow us to be a partner in creating energy independence for the nation. 
“The Wisconsin Operating Engineers have been involved in the extraction of minerals from the earth for over 100 years, more recently in the industrial sand market,” McGowan continued. “We very much look forward to having many of our members continue to work in this growing industry and we are hopeful that someday they will be involved in extracting the richest iron ore deposit in the country right here in Wisconsin.”
The state could shave millions from the billion-dollar boondoggle aimed at Milwaukee's west side when I-94 is expanded by scrapping the project's expensive double-decked bridgework, but Fitzgerald is saying that cutting workers' wages is the way to keep all these road-building costs down.

I'm not sure why anyone would take the time and spend the money to become a union electrician, for example, if contractors can supply workers building a state office building willing to accept, say $9/hr.

Anyone can be Walker's pawn these days.

Combine this with Walker's refusal to raise the minimum wage, the limitation on public sector raises to 1% annually through Act 10, his fresh attack on college teachers which will cut for the second time (Act 10 being the first) the incomes and career paths of many young educators with modest salaries and big student debt, and his rejection of some food stamp and Medicaid assistance and you see the broad and deep reduction implemented by the Walker and the GOP in living standards for Wisconsin's working people.

If you cut construction workers wages - - and much of their work is seasonal - - you are absolutely setting these people up for food stamp and other public assistance applications at the very time the Walkerites have restricted those programs, too.

As I wrote last month, these economic daggers will force people to move out of Wisconsin.

This all from the Koch brothers' anti-union playbook - - small government enforced by big government power - -  and Walker is their tool because he needs their billion dollars to run for President.

Walker '16?


Anonymous said...

I wonder how he will sell his governing strategy of divide and conquer and starve and destroy as improving the lives of most Americans as he continues his presidential "wannabe tour? It has certainly moved Wisconsin forward!

Anonymous said...

I am sure that Terry McGowan is thrilled with this. He gets to keep his high-paying union jobs while his membership gets screwed. Ha ha Local 139.

Anonymous said...

Will some private unions be excluded from (right to) work for less, as some public unions were excluded from Act 10?

Probably not, since Walker will need to prove he's truly "unintimidated" as he runs for president.

Anonymous said...

When you lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas.