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September 14, 2015

Gov. Scott Walker Releases "Power to the People" Labor Plan

Madison, Wis. -- Ahead of his town hall today in Las Vegas, where he will discuss his labor policy, Governor Scott Walker revealed his comprehensive "Power to the People" labor reform plan. Read it here: http://sw.gop/91

Just as Walker successfully implemented commonsense reforms in Wisconsin that took power away from the big-government special interests and gave it back to hardworking taxpayers, he has a plan to do so in Washington. Walker's "Power to the People" plan will check the power of big-government special interests, empower individual workers and protect taxpayers through a number of reforms, including:

  • Eliminating the National Labor Relations Board
  • Eliminating Federal Employee Unions
  • Making every state a Right to Work state
  • Eliminating special interest giveaways that drive up costs for taxpayers
Growing the economy requires a comprehensive approach, and labor reforms are a key part of the equation. The commonsense labor reforms outlined in Walker's plan will focus the federal government’s role to ensure that special-interest loopholes are closed, long-standing democratic principles are preserved and employees and taxpayers are protected. Americans deserve a president who commits to policies to increase jobs and reward hard work, and those results will be delivered under a Walker administration

Read the plan in full here.


Power to the People


When I was elected Governor of Wisconsin in 2010, voters switched from all Democrat to all Republican control of state government. They wanted us to fulfill our campaign promises.

Our state was in dire fiscal condition, and I was presented with a false choice that the solution was raising taxes on the hardworking people of my state.
Instead, I found a commonsense approach that took power away from the big-government special interests and put it into the hands of the hardworking people.

We brought the power back to local governments by freeing them from big-labor collective bargaining agreements that had hamstrung our government. It was pro-taxpayer.

We passed Right to Work legislation so people have the freedom to choose if they want to be in a labor union or not. It was pro-worker.

We fixed a $3.6 billion budget deficit so we could focus on helping people create more jobs and higher wages. And our budgets cut taxes by $4.7 billion so families can keep more of their hard-earned money.

That’s what I want to do for America when I get to Washington.

I look at what President Reagan did when the air traffic controllers threatened to go on strike. He forewarned them that going on strike was a violation of the law. When they did it anyway, he fired them. It was a bold move - at great political risk - but it was the right thing to do.

It was part of his plan to drain the swamp in Washington, and I have a plan to do the same. I will work with Congress, or when appropriate, use the power of the executive to make commonsense changes to some of the workplace rules set by Washington: I will check the power of the big-government special interests, empower individuals, and protect taxpayers.

I believe that fairness and opportunity for workers results from freedom. Freedom that allows workers and employers to create flexibility, choice, and innovation in the workplace. Unfortunately, many of the nation’s federal labor laws and regulations have stood as a roadblock to fairness and opportunity, and instead have created rigid, top-down workplaces that don’t really work for Americans. To achieve fairness and opportunity for American workers, we need to change the status quo. This will not be easy. Many—including the union bosses and the politicians they puppet—have long benefited from Washington rules that put the needs of special interests before those of middle-class families.

Here is my plan to bring power back to the people:



1. Check the Power of Big-Government Special Interests


The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) —the federal agency charged with conducting union elections and addressing unfair labor practices—was meant to protect the rights of employees. Instead, it has become a one-sided advocate for biglabor special interests.

In fact, a watchdog report concludes that “the NLRB appears to be sacrificing fairness to job creators in order to promote pro-union policies.” For example, the NLRB’s recent ambush elections rule, which unfairly speeds up union organizing elections in favor of unions, and joint employer standard decision are political giveaways to the union special interests.

The NLRB is broken beyond repair and should be eliminated. I will transfer the NLRB’s oversight and administration of union elections, as well as the board’s role in addressing unfair labor practices brought by employees against unions or employers, to the National Mediation Board.

In addition, I will transfer the NLRB’s quasi-judicial functions to the federal court system. By eliminating the NLRB and appropriately transferring the board’s functions, we can reduce the power of Washington special interests while protecting employee rights and taxpayers.


In 2012, according to a federal government survey, taxpayers subsidized 3,395,187 hours of “official time” government union lobbying, including time spent negotiating collective bargaining agreements. The millions of hours spent working for big-government union bosses, rather than the American people, has had a real impact. Consider the effect on the more than 600,000 veterans who faced delays for needed medical care at the Department of Veterans Affairs while more than 250 VA employees—including nurses, pharmacists, and rehabilitation experts—worked 100 percent official time for the big-government union bosses.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt put it best when he said that union bargaining “cannot be transplanted into the public service.” Based on my experience in Wisconsin, I saw this firsthand in terms of the impact big-government unions had on the government’s ability to work on behalf of taxpayers. It’s time to address the problems with collective bargaining in public service rather than tinker around the edges. As president, I will work with Congress to eliminate big-government, federal unions on behalf of the American taxpayer. Big-government unions should have no place in the federal workplace, and I will reform the law to prohibit them. Further, I will stand in solidarity with any governor, Republican or Democrat, who fights the big-government special interests in their state and takes on collective bargaining reform like I did in Wisconsin.


On Day One of my administration, I will put in place accountability and transparency rules. I will require online disclosure of union expenditures, including revealing the total compensation of union officers, itemizing union trust fund expenditures, increasing reporting requirements for local affiliates of government employee unions, and restoring conflictof-interest reporting requirements. I will also direct the Department of Labor to provide states information on the cost of their existing collective bargaining policies and how much could be saved if they reformed those policies.

2. Empower Individuals


Workers deserve to have the freedom to choose whether they want to be in a labor union or not. We will work to change the default position in federal law to be Right to Work for all private, state, and local public sector workers. States would have to affirmatively vote to opt out of Right to Work status. Individuals should not have to pay union bosses for the right to earn a living.


The freedom to contract is a bedrock principle of our free market economic system. The National Labor Relations Act gives union bosses a legal monopoly over collective bargaining through exclusive representation over a workplace’s employees. This monopoly power runs counter to the spirit of free enterprise and workplace flexibility. I will work to change federal law to allow employees the flexibility to join a union or not, preserving an employee’s freedom to contract with an employer.


Under some collective bargaining agreements, state employees must fork over as much as $1,000 a year in mandatory dues to the union bosses. In many cases, these dues support political activities that public employees do not support.

The Constitution protects the right to free speech, and forced union contributions to fund political activities clearly infringe on this basic right. State employees have the right to join a union and should have a similar right not to join a union. In fact, the Supreme Court has recently taken up this issue. Should the court fail to uphold the Constitution, I will act to change the law to end the practice of forced union dues and protect free speech.


The federal government should not be forcing federal employees to fund the big-labor political agenda. Federal law prohibits federal employees from engaging in any “political activities” while acting in an official capacity. Using the federal payroll system to withhold dues used for a union’s political spending runs counter to the law that establishes a separation between federal government resources and union political activity.

On Day One of our administration, I will require federal employee unions to disclose and certify the portion of dues used for political activity and prohibit withholding for that amount. The federal government should not be in the business of serving as dues collector for big-government special interests.


I will strengthen federal law to ensure the right to a federally supervised secret ballot election for union organizing elections or votes to approve a strike. In addition, I will protect an employee’s right to privacy during union organizing campaigns and ensure their personal information can be kept private.

Furthermore, federal law should be changed to protect employees from threats, violence, and extortion from a union. As it stands, the Supreme Court has ruled that federal prohibitions outlawing extortion usually do not apply to unions. I will ensure that employee rights are protected. Finally, I will work to strengthen union recertification requirements, requiring that employees have the right to vote on their union on a periodic basis.


The Obama administration’s government-knows-best proposed rules will require employers to pay overtime rates to greater numbers of salaried works and require federal contractors to provide paid sick leave. Unfortunately, these rules will only reduce wages and deprive workers of the flexibility to balance work and life commitments.

On Day One of my administration, I will repeal any regulation that reduces employee flexibility, as well as work for changes to federal law to allow time off for overtime hours worked. My changes will protect workplace flexibility by ensuring that misguided big-government mandates do not stand in the way of individuals and families.


The NLRB and the courts have routinely held that federal law bars employers from giving individual union employees bonuses for exceptional work. This means that the compensation of both unproductive and exceptional employees are capped at the same level set by the union’s collective bargaining agreement.

I will work to ensure that the best employees are rewarded for their best work. There is nothing more American than rewarding individual initiative, and collective bargaining agreements need to be brought into the 21st century.


I will work to change federal law to ensure that unions cannot fire, discriminate, or otherwise retaliate against a whistleblower who reports wrongdoing on the part of a union. In addition, unions will not be able to fire or discriminate against employees who object to or refuse to participate in any activities that violate the law.

3. Protect Taxpayers


Special interest giveaways like Davis-Bacon wage controls and project labor agreements for federal highway projects require the federal government to pay artificially high wages to union bosses. Repealing Davis Bacon wage controls alone could save taxpayers nearly $13 billion over the next ten years.

We also must break up the union monopoly on large federal highway projects. Project labor agreements require that federal construction projects use union-only labor. PLAs are estimated to add between 12 and 18 percent to the cost of highway projects. I will work to repeal Davis-Bacon wage controls and break the union monopoly on federal highway projects by ending the use of PLAs.


 When the federal government usurps power, control shifts from states, communities, families, and individuals to wellconnected special interests that pick winners and losers. For too long, union special interests in Washington have used the system to unfairly benefit themselves at the expense of the American worker. The commonsense reforms outlined here will focus the federal government’s role to ensure that special-interest loopholes are closed once and for all. My reforms will preserve long-standing democratic principles and protect employee privacy. Americans deserve a president who commits to policies to increase jobs and reward hard work, and those results will be delivered under a Walker administration.

Reaction: Progressives Sharply Critical

One Wisconsin Now

September 11, 2015

Gov. Walker to Double Down With Attacks on Working People in Las Vegas Speech

Is Increasingly Desperate Career Politician Betting Vegas Casino Magnate Will Pay Out, Again, for Attacks on Labor?

MADISON, Wis. — Sinking in the national polls, the bumbling campaign of onetime frontrunner for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, is preparing to double down with renewed attacks on working people. Career politician Walker’s desperate bid to remain competitive on the backs of the middle class and working people will be unveiled in a Monday speech in Las Vegas Nevada, hometown of anti-union, Walker mega-donor Sheldon Adelson.

“Scott Walker has always been willing to do or say anything to try to win an election,” commented One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross. “It’s no surprise he’s now trying to boost his sagging poll numbers by promoting the same kinds of attacks on working people that vaulted him to national prominence while conveniently ignoring how his policies left Wisconsin in shambles.”

Annette Magnus, Executive Director of Nevada’s Battle Born Progress, noted Las Vegas is home to the notoriously anti-union Republican mega-donor Sheldon Adelson. The casino magnate reportedly poured in excess of $92 million into supporting GOP presidential candidates in 2012 and has been quoted saying that as long as the ultra-wealthy could buy elections, he would do it.

“We know one of Sheldon Adelson’s top priorities is lower wages for workers and fewer rights in the workplace. On this front Scott Walker is Adelson’s dream candidate having eviscerated the pay and rights of workers in Wisconsin,” said Magnus. “Now it looks like he’s doubling down on those attacks in the hopes of hitting a big payday in Las Vegas.”

Walker and Adelson are no strangers according to Wisconsin campaign finance records. In 2012, exploiting a campaign finance loophole, Adelson wrote Walker a $250,000 check for his recall election while family members donated another $30,000. In his 2014 election, Walker was limited to a $10,000 maximum donation from individuals to his campaign. So Adelson wrote a $650,000 check to the Republican Party of Wisconsin (RPW), and, on the same day it was received, the RPW made a $450,000 contribution to Walker’s gubernatorial campaign. More recently Walker travelled to Israel at Adelson’s behest and on his dime with the Republican Jewish Coalition along with Walker’s “Our American Revival” political group paying as yet undisclosed sums for the junket.

According to Ross, Walker’s signature attack on worker rights known as Act 10 significantly reduced the take home pay of public employees like teachers, nurses, prison guards and other state and local government workers. Other measures he has signed into law as governor are also leaving Wisconsin families with less income like his repeal of an equal pay law and a wrong for Wisconsin right to work law that will cut union and non-union families annual incomes by up to $5,000. Walker most recently gutted a state prevailing wage law that helps protect jobs by ensuring infrastructure projects go to local firms that hire local workers, rather than firms that bring in lower wage workers from other states.

Ross commented, “Scott Walker crapped out in Wisconsin where 60 percent of state voters disapprove of the job he’s done, leaving us divided as never before, short on jobs and dealing with record cuts to public education.”

Magnus concluded, “The record shows, this guy is a bad bet for working people.”

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One Wisconsin Now is a statewide communications network specializing in effective earned media and online organizing to advance progressive leadership and values.

Americans United for Change
September 14, 2015

Scott Walker Wants to Go National with His Anti-Labor Plan That Left Wisconsin #1 in Middle-Class Destruction, 2nd Worst in Midwest in Job Creation

Walker’s Wisconsin Is Case Study for How to Explode Income Inequality

Washington DC – Ahead of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s town hall meeting in Las Vegas today where he’s expected to roll out his Koch-approved plan for “eliminating unions for federal workers and making all workplaces right-to-work”, Americans United for Change President Brad Woodhouse issued the following statement:
“Governor Walker has got the reverse-Midas touch. He managed to turn a state with one of the best jobs records into one of the worst. Walker tested his trickle-down theory in Wisconsin. He promised that stripping away worker’s collective bargaining rights while giving outsourcers a giant tax break would leave the economy humming. He guaranteed 250,000 more people would be working by his first term’s end. The results are in. Wisconsin’s job growth has slowed to a crawl, ranking second to last in the Midwest. Wisconsin fell to dead last in the nation when it comes to families falling out of the middle class, and the state leads the pack in declining household income. When a theory is tested and fails so spectacularly, only an incompetent or careless policy maker would recommend it for wide scale adoption. But here we are. Walker is running on nothing but his failed anti-labor record, going so far as to disturbingly compare union members to ISIS. But Walker’s crusade against unions is not just a loser economically, it’s a loser politically, with polls showing that nearly 60 percent of Americans and a greater majority of millennials, regardless of political affiliation, support labor unions. If you ask voters, taking away thousands of people’s ability to bargain for better wages, improved health benefits and retirement security is not something to be proud of.
“The power the labor movement has to bring more families into the middle class isn’t a theory, it’s fact. When people come together to negotiate with their employer, they’re in a stronger position to take home a fairer slice of the economic growth that they helped create. It’s not a coincidence that as union membership has declined in recent years, income inequality has worsened, with Corporate CEOs hoarding all the fruits of the labor sector’s increased productivity. Walker wants every state to be a Right-to-Work (for Less) state.  In other words, Walker wants wages in all states to be 3 percent less, because that’s how RTW states compare to non-RTW states.  Paying Americans less for working more hours has been the goal all along of the Koch brothers and outsourcing CEOs fueling Walker’s campaign.  Walker has taken so much money from the Kochs, it wouldn’t be surprising is he actually believes all there is to being President is destroying workers’ rights and opportunity.
“Walker has a proposal for voters: let him do to America what he did to Wisconsin.  Given how fast his numbers have slipped even amongst the Republican presidential primary voters, the answer clearly is ‘No thanks.’”

Democratic National Committee
September 14, 2015

REACTION to Gov. Walker’s Latest Attack on the Middle Class: “Desperate and Disgusting”

Later today at an event in Las Vegas, Scott Walker will lay out a far-reaching, extremist anti-middle class agenda. Here’s our response:

“It’s desperate and disgusting that Scott Walker would seek to revive his flailing campaign on the backs of middle-class workers and families. By seeking to dismantle unions – the backbone of the middle class that gave us weekends, paid vacations, and child labor laws – Scott Walker is again placing his political ambitions and the demands of his billionaire benefactors ahead of middle class Americans. Walker’s Wisconsin is an emblem of his anti-middle class agenda: broken jobs promises and a lagging economy. Now he wants to bring those harmful policies – on steroids – to the entire country.”
– TJ Helmstetter, DNC spokesperson

Sanders 2016
September 14, 2015
Contact: Michael Briggs

Sanders Statement on Trade Unions

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders on Monday issued the following statement on Gov. Scott Walker’s plan to eliminate overtime pay, lower wages and destroy the trade union movement in the United States:

“At a time when the rich are getting richer and everyone else is getting poorer, Gov. Walker’s attack on the trade union movement would lower wages and the benefits that working people receive while making the wealthy and large corporations even richer.

“Workers have the constitutional right to form unions, to collectively bargain and to participate in the political process. If we are going to rebuild the crumbling middle class we need a stronger trade union movement, not a weaker one. Gov. Walker’s proposal would move us in exactly the wrong direction.”