Gov. Walker Stands Firm on Union Reform

Wisconsin governor on future of collective bargaining law


This is a rush transcript from "Your World with Neil Cavuto," May 27, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, ANCHOR: Well, stepping back here, I don't if a lot of you heard this yesterday, but, in Wisconsin, some big news that came out of the blue, a judge ruling that the governor's crackdown on unions, particularly on this whole collective bargaining issue that draw all these riots back and forth and demonstrations and the like, he could not do it.

So, there is a freeze on this sort of activity.

For the first time since all of this sort of hit the fan, the governor himself reacting.

Governor Scott Walker joining me now from Wisconsin.

Governor, what do you do now?

GOV. SCOTT WALKER, R-WIS.: Well, for us, the clear thing that was -- we found out of that ruling is not that the law wasn't valid, but the process that was used, at least according to the circuit court, wasn't correct.

So, either next week, when the Supreme Court starts to hear this case, either by the time they're done in June or ultimately by the end of June, when we have to have the legislature passing a state budget, one way or the other, either through the Supreme Court or the legislature, these reforms we will be into place, and we will ultimately be able to protect middle- class jobs and middle-class taxpayers here in the state of Wisconsin.

CAVUTO: You know, the one thing about that, then, Governor, that I don't understand is, if the judge is saying the way the process was done was wrong, that people could not get in to vote or to hear things, whatever -- and I remember these...

WALKER: Right.

CAVUTO: ... all these Democratic senators who bolted the state, if they were to do that all over again, it was that kind of disruption that prompted the crowds and everything else. So, they do it all over again, it is the same issue, right? You can never get this resolved?

WALKER: Well, except for the fact that the process wasn't the vote itself. It was the timing of the vote and how far in advance notice was given. They could take this same vote again as part of the budget process and -- or in separate legislation, and still have the same outcome.

The other key difference is, people like state Senator Tim Cullen, a Democrat from Janesville, has clearly stated he's not going to leave the state again. He didn't think that was the right approach. He is ready to move on and move beyond all this.

And, so, when the budget is up, I have a feeling that, while people like him may not agree with everything that is in the budget, they are not going to leave, they are not going to take off.

And that is really important, because the budget itself, unlike other budgets across the country that cut billions of dollars from schools and local governments that are -- universities, in Wisconsin, we actually give those local governments and school districts the tools to balance their budget, to avoid the massive layoffs, to avoid the massive property tax increases.

And that is why our state is a much better state to do business in, because we are not laying off people.

CAVUTO: Well, that might very well be the case, Governor, but the rap against you is that you simply went too far, that you are not only anti- union, you're pro killing off unions, and that Wisconsin has gotten a reputation for that, again, fairly or not. Some of your more extreme critics are saying you are just out to kill unions.

Are you?

WALKER: Well, again, that is just wrong.

Our private sector unions are our partners in economic development. And in this case, what we are trying to do is protect the workers. In the past, some of our greatest teachers, some of the first-year or second-year, third-year teachers, the youngest, the newest, the best and the brightest in many cases that we have in our schools, because they are the last ones hired, they are the first out the door any time there is a staffing health care.

Our reforms actually allow our school districts to keep the best and the brightest not based on tenure or seniority, but instead based on merit and performance. And that way, we can focus in on what is important, in our schools and our local governments.

The other key thing is, I think if you look at the sentiment that has come out of this, the fact that we are willing to make tough decisions, thinking more about the next generation than we do just about the next election, job creators across the country have taken note of that.

A year ago, we ranked number 41 in the CEO survey that "Chief Executive" magazine puts out. Two weeks ago, we came out, moving from 41, 17 spots up to 24. Job creators are taking note. And we have created some 25,000 private sector jobs in the first four months alone. That is having a positive impact on our state's economy. And it's going to help us create a better state in the future.

CAVUTO: Relating a little bit to what you were saying here -- and I know it is not your state or even an issue directly here -- but the National Labor Relations Board getting very involved in this Boeing plant extension in a right-to-work state like South Carolina, and now wanting to weigh in on all such corporate decisions that are made -- and I talked to the CEO of Heinz yesterday on this very show, who said that that scares him because it would be a lot easier for he or his colleagues to just go abroad than deal with the hassle of getting a union's approval here domestically.

Do you share that fear? Do you think that is overstated, as some unions have said? What do you think?

WALKER: No, I don't think it is overstated.

And I think you see this as raw politics, not Republican or Democrat politics, but labor union politics. We saw it in Wisconsin in the midst of this debate. The reality is, they were willing to throw their members under the bus as the process went along, because they wanted more than anything was an automatic guarantee that every public employee in this state be forced to be part of a union, and that they get those union dues.

We give those employees the right to choose whether or not they want to be part of a union or not. And, ultimately, we saw the real fact is, they are fighting not for workers' right. They're fighting for union dues, in same way here they want to fight to keep every single dollar possible as part of those union dues.

That is the politics in play. It is not about protecting workers' rights. It's ultimately about grabbing those dollars for their power plays.

CAVUTO: All right, Governor, thank you very, very much. We always appreciate having you on.

WALKER: Good to be with you. I hope you inspired me to cook a little Johnsonville Brats over the weekend as well.


CAVUTO: You know, that is the one thing we don't have, Governor. But you're right.


WALKER: You should. Brats are great from Wisconsin.

CAVUTO: A huge oversight on our part.


CAVUTO: Thank you very much, Governor. Be well.

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