Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) said Sunday that thousands of
demonstrators had not caused him to reconsider his plan to strip unions
of collective bargaining rights.
NBC's David Gregory asked Walker why he refused a proposal by unions
to accept his demand that they contribute more to pension and health
care benefits if he dropped the proposal to end collective bargaining
"If the unions, who it seems to me have been clear in saying that
they would agree to those extra contributions, if they did that, and
you say you're concerned about the budget shortfall, why not accept
that?" Gregory wondered.
"But my point is, they can't," Walker replied. "There are 1,000-plus
municipalities, more than 424 school districts, 72 counties, I know, I
used to be a county executive for eight years. I know that collective
bargaining has to be done in every jurisdiction. They can't guarantee
"Governor, if you're really serious about the state being broke, you
have a deal that you could take, to get the contributions you need to
solve the problem at hand. Why not separate that out from your views
about collective bargaining?" Gregory pressed.
"But, David, my point is repeatedly, as a former local government
official, I know that collective bargaining has a cost and when I'm
cutting more than $1 billion from aid to local governments, in this
next two-year budget, I need to do what no other governor is doing
across the country."
The Republican governor repeated his threat that if 14 Democrats in
the state Senate didn't return to vote on the bill, he would be forced
to layoff workers.
"If we don't get these changes and the Senate Democrats don't come
back, we'll be forced to make up the savings in layoffs and that's
unacceptable," he said.