Governor Walker proposes sweeping change to fix budget deficit
By Bonnie Shelton
WAUSAU (WAOW)--Governor Scott Walker wants major concessions from state employees to help fix Wisconsin's $137 million dollar budget deficit. Public workers are up in arms over the proposal that would strip them of collective bargaining rights.
If the Governor's budget repair bill passes, state employees will lose the ability to negotiate with employers except for cost of living wage increases. The bill will affect many state employees including teachers, plow drivers and nurses.
Labor representatives say state workers will do their part to help fix the budget, but the collective bargaining provision in the bill has nothing to do with the budget shortfall.
AFSCME staff representative John Spiegelhoff says, "We're willing to do our part. We know the economy is suffering, but that could undo a lot of years of stability in negotiating between employers and employees."
If passed, state employees will be responsible for paying almost six percent toward their pension and 12 percent for health care. Union workers, teachers and state employees will head to Madison to protest the proposed bill.