Earlier today, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker signed into law a bill that strips public workers of their rights to collectively bargain after the Republican-controlled legislature rushed through the legislation. While Walker maintains that the bill is necessary to solve the budget crisis, it is becoming increasingly clear that the move was purely a power grab by the GOP and its pro-corporate allies.
As previously reported, Walker’s bill makes special exemptions for the two labor unions which endorsed his campaign for governor. The workers who were members of unions that supported his opponent, on the other hand, were the targets of the legislation. Moreover, despite claiming that they are simply trying to be fiscally responsible, Walker and his GOP allies backed massive corporate giveaways that expanded the deficit.
But now, Republican leaders in the state legislature are practically admitting that the bill was about partisan politics.
Republican State Senate Leader Scott Fitzgerald told Fox News that the bill was passed in order to dramatically weaken the clout of unions who could support President Obama’s reelection campaign in the swing state: “If we win this battle, and the money is not there under the auspices of the unions, certainly what you’re going to find is President Obama is going to have a much more difficult time getting elected and winning the state of Wisconsin.”
Randy Hopper, a Republican State Senator who could be recalled by voters this year, also said in an interview with Fox News, “I think there’s absolutely no question that this is an issue for 2012.”
As Republicans admit that the union-busting bill is all about punishing progressive groups and rewarding corporate backers, it is clear that the GOP’s rhetoric on “fiscal conservatism” should not be taken seriously.