Barrett to Sykes on Walker union-busting: “No” to changes in rights, “Yes” to cuts in benefits

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I honestly wasn’t paying close attention to Tom Barrett a year ago. By the recordings from the time, which you’ll soon hear, it sounds like he was trying very hard to distance himself from the Dem14 and look like a Wisconsin blue dog*. When you’re done with the post, let me know: Does this anger you? Or make him seem like *more* of a viable contender against Scott Walker?

I visited the Cognitive Dissidence blog and came across  this video and longer audio segment from a conversation candidate for Governor and Milwaukee mayor Tom Barrett had with conservative radio host Charlie Sykes when the 14 Democratic senators of Wisconin were still in Illinois over Walker’s “budget repair bill”, Wisconsin Act 10.

I don’t particularly like either recording BUT to be fair to Tom Barrett, you should listen to the longer recording. It lets you know that Barrett would not rubber stamp Walker’s bill.

If you listen to only the sampled YouTube recording, it’s not all there.

You’ll hear Barrett say that he would pass WI Act 10 – Walker’s so-called “Budget Repair Bill” – by *not* saying collective bargaining changes are fiscal. In so doing, he says, he would be able to get around needing a quorum of 20 state senators. Therefore the absence of the 14 Democratic senators would not keep the legislature at a standstill.

Barrett says, “You could vote on those tomorrow morning.”  

If you listen to the longer interview recording, you will hear Barrett say that he would not go all the way with what Walker wanted to do to unions. He says that he would alter health insurance and retirement benefits but he would vote “no on the changes in collective bargaining”.

Barrett: “The vast majority of the people in this state agree that public employees should pay more towards their healthcare and toward their pensions.”

Sykes: “Except they don’t”.

Barrett: “Except they don’t. But the bill will do that and and the bill will pass and the bill should pass.”

Sykes: “But the bill can’t bind local governments and the 100′s of local unions.”

Barrett: “But it can do a lot. Certainly with those who are in the Wisconsin Retirement System. Those are almost all public employees with the state with the exception of Milwaukee and Milwaukee County… ”

Barrett: “But again, if someone really wanted to end this stand-off the way you would end it is simply have a separate vote.”
Sykes: “Would you favor that?”
Barrett: “I would certainly favor that.”
Sykes: “Would you vote for that.”

Barrett: “I would vote for the changes in the healthcare and the pension. I would vote “no” on the changes in collective bargaining. But there’s the rub.”

Here’s the longer audio segmentsource: 620 WTMJ

Here’s the text that appears with the Sykes audio on the 620 web site: “Friday, Jan 20, 2012 During “Insight 2011″ back in March of last year, Mayor Tom Barrett discussed Governor Walker’s Act 10 which, at the time, had sent Democrat State Senators into hiding. This excerpt may be of particular interest to the new Kathleen Falk campaign.”

Image of a blue stuffed dog repeated 4 times. by mcbridejc creative commons license.*from the Blue Dog Coalition
“The Blue Dog Coalition was created in 1995 to represent the commonsense middle of the Democratic Party. Blue Dogs advocate for mainstream American values, a commitment to fiscal responsibility, and a strong national defense.

The name “Blue Dog” originates from the long-time tradition of referring to a strong Democratic Party supporter as being a “Yellow Dog Democrat,” who would, “vote for a yellow dog if it was listed on the ballot as a Democrat.” Leading up to the 1994 election the founding members of the Blue Dogs felt that they had been “choked blue” by the extremes of both political parties.

Currently, the Blue Dog Coalition is comprised of 25 conservative and moderate members who represent every corner of the country and continue to work to end the divisive and toxic nature of politics today. They work with members of both parties to find areas of compromise and to advance public policies that benefit the entire nation.

The Blue Dogs also have a number of policy task forces focused on the important issues facing our nation today, including: small business development, federal oversight and regulatory review, and energy independence.

Blue Dogs are not beholden to any political party leadership, but rather the constituents they represent.”

blue dog image is from mcbridejc

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  4 comments for “Barrett to Sykes on Walker union-busting: “No” to changes in rights, “Yes” to cuts in benefits

  1. standswithafist
    April 2, 2012 at 5:50 pm

    I need to hear the candidates disavow the two big lies that Walker told.

    1) Wisconsin is broke.

    2) Public employees need to pay more into their health care and pensions.

    State workers traded wages for benefits. Now they have neither. Their income since Act 10 passed is not competitive. Public workers handle our tax dollars, care for our most vulnerable citizens and protect our public wealth. We want top-notch employees in these jobs. Workers saved the state money by accepting benefits instead of wage increases, but they’ll never do it again. State workers paid 100% of their benefits before Act 10. Now their extra payments are offsetting a corporate tax cut. Walker broke the benefits-for-wages agreement we had. Candidates need to tell the truth about this.

  2. standswithafist
    April 2, 2012 at 5:44 pm

    I need to hear the candidates disavow the two big lies that Walker told.

    1) Wisconsin is broke.

    2) Public employees need to pay more into their health care and pensions.

    State workers traded wages for benefits. Now they have neither. Their income since Act 10 passed is not competitive. Public workers handle our tax dollars, care for our most vulnerable citizens and protect our public wealth. We want the top-notch employees in these jobs. Workers saved the state money by accepting benefits instead of wage increases, but they’ll never do it again. State workers paid 100% of their benefits before Act 10. Now their extra payments are offsetting a corporate tax cut. Tell the truth about this.

  3. April 2, 2012 at 1:00 am

    It certainly makes him see like more of a viable contender to me. He’s addressing the basic realities, while still looking forward to maintaining workers rights. This is what we need more of, for sure.

  4. April 2, 2012 at 12:09 am

    Thanks so much for this post.

    also see this.

    Democratic governor candidate Tom Barrett: I would restore labor powers

    http://centralwisconsinhub.wausaudailyherald.com/article/20120401/WDH010403/204010445/Democratic-governor-candidate-Tom-Barrett-would-restore-labor-powers?odyssey=mod|mostview

    Apr. 1, 2012 |

    Newly announced Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tom Barrett said Saturday he will support restoring collective bargaining for thousands of union workers if he beats Gov. Scott Walker in a recall election.

    Barrett spoke to reporters before he gave a speech at the Marathon County Democratic Spring Dinner at the Wausau Labor Temple, 318 S. Third St. It was the Milwaukee mayor’s first public appearance since he announced Friday his intention to run for governor.

    ……Barrett said Walker “started a civil war” when he introduced a plan last year to restrict the ability for public unions to collectively bargain. The proposal, included in a budget-repair bill, led to protests in spring 2011 in Madison and recall elections that so far have removed two Republican state senators from office.

    “The governor had an opportunity to compromise, and rather than compromise, he wanted to kick the workers to the curb,” Barrett said…..

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