Seeking to revitalize his presidential campaign, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker on Monday fired a new shot at labor by proposing to prevent federal workers from collectively bargaining, create a national right-to-work law and eliminate the National Labor Relations Board.
In a plan released by his campaign, Walker also called for requiring all unions to hold periodic votes so workers could decide whether they should continue to exist. If elected, he also would cancel President Barack Obama's Labor Day order that federal contractors provide paid sick leaveand work to end policies requiring some salaried workers in the private sector to receive overtime — saying in some cases they should get time off instead.
"We must take on the big-government union bosses in Washington — just like I took them on in Wisconsin," the GOP governor said at a town hall meeting on the shop floor of construction equipment maker Xtreme Manufacturing.
"Federal employees should work for the taxpayers — not the other way around."
At on point during his speech in Vegas he called collective bargaining itself an "expensive entitlement". Walker's ideas are pretty bonkers, but hey, this is the 2016 GOP primary we're talking about here.
The real problem is how blithely the article in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel dismisses Walker's radical destruction of unions as ever passing.
Many of Walker's ideas — such as dissolving the labor relations board and establishing a federal right-to-work law — would require changes to the National Labor Relations Act of 1935. Such changes have little chance of becoming law, said Joseph E. Slater, a labor professor at the University of Toledo in Ohio.
The last major change to the act was in 1959. When Democrats had large majorities in Congress in 2009 and 2010, they tried to make the law more favorable to unions but couldn't get their changes passed. Walker's ideas would likely pass only if Republicans controlled the U.S. House and had a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate — and even then it would be difficult, Slater said.
"It's really just red meat for the base," Slater said. "None of that's going to actually happen. I'm not certain you could get even 60 Republicans (in the Senate) to vote for that."
It's cute that people still think that whatever red wave that would sweep any Republican into power in 2016, wouldn't keep the House and Senate in GOP hands, and that Republicans wouldn't dare eliminate the filibuster and merrily turn back 80 years of laws.
That would be almost amusing if it wasn't so amazingly tragic.