Hot Air exclusive: Walker pledges to end federal public-employee unions

posted at 8:30 am on September 14, 2015 by Ed Morrissey

Hot Air is pleased to provide Governor Scott Walker with an opportunity to speak directly to voters in this guest column.

Time to End Big-Labor’s Corrosive Influence on the Federal Government
By Gov. Scott Walker

In 2012, American taxpayers shelled out some $156 million to do the bidding of big-government union bosses. Federal workers spent more than 3.3 million hours that year doing union work, instead of serving the government.

It’s a scheme that could only have been hatched in Washington. It’s called “official time,” and it allows government employees to work full-time for federal union bosses on the taxpayers’ dime. It’s just one of the reasons why action is required to end the corrosive influence big labor has on our federal government.

As president, I would stop that influence cold by eliminating federal government unions and returning power back to where it belongs: in the hands of hardworking taxpayers.

This idea is not new. Even President Franklin D. Roosevelt, one of America’s most revered liberals, realized just how counter-intuitive it is to allow union bosses to advocate against the best interests of the government. Union bargaining, Roosevelt said, “cannot be transplanted into the public service.”

In fact, until 1962, federal law explicitly prohibited federal workers from collectively bargaining. President Kennedy, however, shrewdly realized that by allowing public sector employees to unionize at the federal level, Democrats would stand to gain votes and hefty political contributions. He was right.

Federal union political donations go overwhelmingly to liberal political candidates and causes. In the 2014 election cycle alone, the largest federal employee union, the American Federation of Government Employees, contributed more than $943,000 to political candidates – 93 percent of which went to Democrats. Not to be outdone, the National Treasury Employees Union, which represents employees across more than 30 federal agencies and departments, gave more than 95 percent of its $550,050 in candidate contributions to Democrats. These lopsided donations in support of Democrats have been happening for decades, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks the political donations of unions and other groups.

What’s more, federal unions are a force for making our government less efficient and accountable. Case in point is union opposition to a commonsense congressional proposal that would simply give the scandal-plagued Department of Veterans Affairs the ability to “remove or demote a VA employee based on performance or misconduct.” In case the union bosses hadn’t noticed, VA has a lot of problems nowadays, and difficulty firing bad employees is one of them.

Federal unions are also at the forefront of keeping federal employees involved in egregious misconduct on the federal payroll. When an employee at a VA hospital in Kansas City, Mo., allowed a patient to wander out of a secure psychiatry unit in 2014, VA officials sought to fire the employee. But the union representing the worker wouldn’t allow that. Instead, it fought to reduce the penalty to a suspension, and later helped the employee get back pay for the time he was under suspension. Union protection also prevented the government from firing a USDA food inspector who failed to discover a massive rat infestation in a pasta-production plant. The union won back-pay for the employee despite his actions jeopardizing the health of consumers. These are just a few examples.

And let’s not forget the fact that federal unions interfere with the ability of the government to serve the people. Consider the millions of hours each year federal employees spend working for big-labor bosses, rather than the American people. In 2012, taxpayers subsidized more than 3.3 million hours of “official time,” in which government employees are paid to work exclusively for union bosses, at a cost of $156 million to American taxpayers.

At the IRS, which has been busy attacking conservative groups instead of actually helping Americans deal with their taxes, more than 200 employees work full-time for big-government union bosses at taxpayer expense. The situation is even worse at the Department of Veterans Affairs, where in fiscal year 2013, more than 250 employees – including medical professionals – collected taxpayer-funded salaries to work for union bosses instead of veterans. The fact that this is occurring at a time when the IRS and VA lurch from one scandal to another and struggle to provide basic services to those they are charged with serving underscores the need for reform.

Under current law, employees at some federal agencies like the FBI, CIA, Secret Service and the Government Accountability Office are already prevented from unionizing. The sensitive work done at these agencies requires employee accountability and efficiency, which federal unions often work against. We should give all federal agencies the ability to operate without the limitations and inefficiencies federal unions cause.

As president, I will work with Congress to prohibit federal employee unions because it’s the right thing for workers, taxpayers and the future of the American government. I have no illusions that this effort will be easy. Opponents will say that we’re robbing federal workers of their rights and workplace protections. Nothing could be further from the truth. Total compensation for federal employees is already 30 to 40 percent higher than their civilian counterparts and they already enjoy strong workplace protections and high job security rates.

The vast majority of federal workers do an outstanding job and deserve our appreciation and protection, which they will receive under a Walker administration. But taxpayers deserve the same thing. One of the ways I will achieve that is by removing the corrosive influence of federal unions from our government.

Scott Walker, a Republican, is the governor of Wisconsin and a candidate for president.

Hot Air will be happy to provide other presidential candidates an open forum for guest essays as well.


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The vast majority of federal workers do an outstanding job and deserve our appreciation and protection… – Scott Walker

No, they don’t. Most federal employees are little more than economic blood suckers. The government should be shrunk by 80% and their jobs should be permanently eliminated.

Walker hasn’t done anything about the police and fireman unions in Wisconsin, why should we believe him? Those public sector unions are just as bad as the teacher unions. ALL public sector unions should be eliminated.

The federal mafia is the enemy of prosperity and freedom.

http://cnsnews.com/news/article/terence-p-jeffrey/21955000-12329000-government-employees-outnumber-manufacturing

earlgrey on September 14, 2015 at 11:46 AM

Schadenfreude

Bmore on September 14, 2015 at 11:49 AM

MarshFox!!!

Bmore on September 14, 2015 at 11:49 AM

Walker’s pro-amnesty position wasn’t a serious or well-thought position. It sure looks to me like he believes his more considered current stance.

thuja on September 14, 2015 at 10:34 AM

Unfortunately for Walker, the GOP destroyed any credibility amongst its candidates. Thus, someone like Walker is going to have to do a lot more to convince people that he is serious about a) no amnesty (i.e., NO legal status of any kind for current illegals); and b) serious enforcement of immigration law – including deportations.

Because he is backed by a pro-amnesty billionaire, I doubt he will make the effort to prove he is serious on this issue.

This just proves how disastrous the years of GOP lies and open hostility to conservatives has been. Conservatives trust Trump, who has until recently espoused liberal views, more than it trusts GOP candidates.

For someone like Walker, who has not been part of congress, it may seem unfair. But, the reality is – history has taught us that “outsiders” who claim they will take on the “Washington establishment” almost always get completely co-opted by that establishment. See, e.g., Rubio.

Thus, the base is pretty sure that Walker would become 100% GOPe within days of election and become a full-throated supporter of amnesty.

Which, again, helps explain Trump. People believe that Trump would be able to withstand the establishment and not be co-opted into failure theater. Whether this believe is correct or not, his bluster and the fact that the GOPe hates him, works in his favor on this point.

In fact, a big part of Trump’s support is explained by that – the simple fact that people believe he would not succumb to pressure to do the establishment’s bidding. I doubt anyone believes that of any of the other candidates – even Cruz (who I support). Nobody believes that Walker, Fiorina, or other candidates trying to be the “outsider” candidate would actually remain “outsiders” once elected. People do believe that of Trump.

Trump’s entire success is based on 2 things: (1) illegal immigration and (2) hatred/distrust of the GOP by its base.

Once people understand that, Trump makes perfect sense. It’s not about his positions (except immigration), its because he is not one of them.

Monkeytoe on September 14, 2015 at 11:56 AM

I appreciate that you are concerned enough to post this here, Governor Walker.

This is truly an important issue. Important, but unfortunately not urgent and not existential to the continued Republic.

I had high hopes for you, after your experience in Wisconsin.

However, you lost me in your wavering and flip-flopping on immigration. THAT is the most urgent and important issue. Too many others issues are tied up in that. Until we STOP the unfettered invasion of our country and reduce the illegals that are here (which would also have the effect of lessening the draw in the first place), our country is lost.

Until you show you understand that (and few of your compatriots do), you will continue to drop in the polls.

makattak on September 14, 2015 at 12:09 PM

Not exactly against this, but he is changing the subject to one closer to his heart. Nobody else has raised public unions as an issue, though it is. So, I think this is a well-intentioned last-gasp.

The problem here is that all union workers vote (and their organizations nominate/ fund democrats/ go figure) so any candidate pushing this will be immediately demonized as wishing to fire all union workers. Overnight, the conservative is standing with his boot on the throat of the worker. Not smart.

So this is not going anywhere. Like the bold ideas to abolish the IRS (and the accountancy industry), there are too many snouts in the trough and you have to drag them away one-by-one.

It really isn’t different from entitlements, is it? Once you’ve created a benefit spigot, hard to turn it off. Not impossible but you need unusual political capital to make people drink nasty medicine – such as Obama had with Obamacare, done against the wishes of the people, due to the absence of organized opposition.

Like it or not, Trump has built his capital on the immigration issue and if elected will get to spend it. I don’t see Walker elevating this labor issue at the national level, or succeeding with it if he was elected.

virgo on September 14, 2015 at 12:13 PM

Chris Christie went after the unions too.

Walker’s corporate backers are fine with going after unions.

Not so much on enforcing the laws on illegals, or controlling the border.

sharrukin on September 14, 2015 at 12:17 PM

Dear amnesty shill, thank you for sharing.

kunegetikos on September 14, 2015 at 12:18 PM

As one of the issues, I agree. You, gov Walker, need get on board with the rest of the issues like immigration, foreign policy, etc.

TerryW on September 14, 2015 at 12:27 PM

Oh please, most of Trump’s support is not(according to polls)conservative or GOP based. There is a real question if these people will even get out to vote. Trump is the message of the anger people have over the political games being played by both sides. With the phoniness of the Trump campaign exposed, his ‘support’ is moving away toward Carson and Fiorina. That begs the question of what the GOP voters will do when their primary come up.(6 months is the first real not caucus) That is an entirety in politics. All the candidates are retooling their campaign. Walker just did it a little faster than the others. It is also become obvious that he and the others are writing off the Trump support as not important, but have accepted the message. So Trump has done some good, if he continues the message could be destroyed or overwritten by the DC types. It all comes down to GOP voter, and not the phony circus that the mainstream media has pursued these past couple of months.

flackcatcher on September 14, 2015 at 12:27 PM

If “these people” don’t get out to vote for Trump I will guarantee one thing.We sure and hell will not come out to vote for another GOP candidate.And most of the polls being taken,by the way,are of likely Republican voters.So dream on RINO fools.You are going down,or your party is going down.One or the other!

redware on September 14, 2015 at 12:44 PM

So basically he will abolish AFGE? I’m sorry but in the union world, AFGE does more good than it does harm. If government is mostly managed by autocratic and arbitrary rule, then removing this third party negatively affects the employee. AFGE represents the worker in most cases involving disputes with management.

The whole problem with unions is that they organize strikes in an effort to increase payroll which affects a business’ profit margin. Since Federal government is not in the business of making profit and wages are already set, what is the point of going after AFGE?

long_cat on September 14, 2015 at 1:13 PM

The Ds filibuster and then what? We get a President Walker with nothing left to do after a feeble attempt to accomplish the impossible. That should look good (sarc) when running for a second term.

Carnac on September 14, 2015 at 1:16 PM

The whole problem with unions is that they organize strikes in an effort to increase payroll which affects a business’ profit margin. Since Federal government is not in the business of making profit and wages are already set, what is the point of going after AFGE?

long_cat on September 14, 2015 at 1:13 PM

Federal workers have tons of legal protections already – the union is just another layer on top and increases the costs of gov’t.

More importantly, federal unions are where labor gets most of its $$ and manpower for elections. At the very least, if they don’t get rid of these unions, make it voluntary to join/pay.

Monkeytoe on September 14, 2015 at 1:34 PM

The Ds filibuster and then what? We get a President Walker with nothing left to do after a feeble attempt to accomplish the impossible. That should look good (sarc) when running for a second term.

Carnac on September 14, 2015 at 1:16 PM

Conservatives should be pushing for elimination of the filibuster. It is not found in the constitution and is ONLY ever used to stop conservative ideas.

Indeed, the GOP uses the filibuster to stop from even attempting to pursue conservative ideas, which is why the GOP wants to keep the filibuster.

You only need a majority vote of the Senate to eliminate the filibuster.

Monkeytoe on September 14, 2015 at 1:35 PM

Conservatives should be pushing for elimination of the filibuster. It is not found in the constitution and is ONLY ever used to stop conservative ideas.

Monkeytoe on September 14, 2015 at 1:35 PM

Yeah except for the 2007-2014 period where it was abused enormously by the right to prevent or slow Obama’s entire agenda.
You know the period of completely unprecedented obstruction by the republican minority in the senate?

Yeah…that.

Tlaloc on September 14, 2015 at 3:12 PM

It’s a good proposal, but it comes from a guy who can’t win without help from the GOP’s RINO “leadership” and the Donor Class, help that comes with strings attached. Those strings will be used to make him dance to RINO tunes if he wins.

And if Walker is willing to have the execrable POS Brad Dayspring on his team, how truly Conservative can he be?

Walker-for-President Effort Hires Another Controversial Anti-Conservative In Brad Dayspring

novaculus on September 14, 2015 at 3:18 PM

This would have been a useful campaign platform for Walker about a month ago.

Rusty Nail on September 14, 2015 at 3:45 PM

Too little too late. You know what’s going to drive this election cycle?

This.

This

This

DFCtomm on September 14, 2015 at 3:57 PM

But we need Government labor unions to make sure the Government doesn’t treat its employees unfairly or something

Brock Robamney on September 14, 2015 at 4:19 PM

And if Walker is willing to have the execrable POS Brad Dayspring on his team, how truly Conservative can he be?

Walker-for-President Effort Hires Another Controversial Anti-Conservative In Brad Dayspring

novaculus on September 14, 2015 at 3:18 PM

This is not surprising to those who have been paying attention. Walker has been trying to hide his progressive tendencies

Brock Robamney on September 14, 2015 at 4:23 PM

Well this will get attention, but the Governor needs more.

For one: You’re going to crash and burn if you want to go after unions while supporting Obamatrade. Are you anti-Union for the good of the taxpayer, or are you just a corporate hitman for the Chamber? Stand Against TPP, Obamatrade, and all its other names and acronyms – fight for the American Worker.

Expand your message and go after ALL the liberal sacred cows. Hollywood cheats on its taxes all the time and Academia rips off students and taxpayers while indoctrinating impressionable to the leftist cause.

Liberal Sacred cows:

Unions, Academia, Hollywood, Big Business. Go after them and you will get more attention.

Daemonocracy on September 14, 2015 at 4:28 PM

“Walker pledges to end federal public-employee unions”

Another republican promise. Repeal Obamacare blah blah blah…

Republican party is dead or atleast soon to be.

dcnj on September 14, 2015 at 4:41 PM

Oh and I can’t ever support Walker as long as Brad Dayspring works for him.

Seriously Walker, are you this tone deaf? Why don’t you just hire Pontius Pilate and Judas to talk to Christians for you.

Daemonocracy on September 14, 2015 at 4:41 PM

As president, I would stop that influence cold by eliminating federal government unions and returning power back to where it belongs: in the hands of hardworking taxpayers.


Great idea!
Needs to be done! Gov. Walker is one of the very few candidates who has enough credibility and courage on Union issues to make me believe he can get it done.

Keep shining a bright light on the Federal Government Union issue Gov. Walker and I will move you off of my “Candidates on Probation” list and move you up to my “Candidates to Consider” list.

Now if Governor Walker wants to turn me into an Enthusiastic Supporter, he needs to convince me he will:

– Enforce U.S. Laws against ILLEGAL immigration
– Send ILLEGAL aliens back to their home countries ASAP
– Secure all U.S. borders
– End VISA overstays
– End Dual Citizenship (Only 100% Americans should be able to vote!)
– Reform the corrupt Refugee Resettlement process (Google the RefugeeResettlementWatch Blog for more eye-opening details)
– End Anchor Baby policies
– End Birth Tourism
– Make English the official U.S. language
– Enforce the use of E-Verify for all hiring
– Reduce legal immigration until the U.S. job market improves
– Prioritize legal immigration based on needed skills and benefit to the USA, rather than family ties.

Become the Presidential Candidate who will always put the interests of American Citizens first and you will vault back to the top of the polls.

wren on September 14, 2015 at 4:45 PM

DCF in all the states needs serious reform. Juvenile courts in Connecticut operate under the cover of darkness, they are secret and closed to the media and public, they are corrupt as hell – go after them Scott.

Daemonocracy on September 14, 2015 at 5:00 PM

Walker was able to do this in Wisconsin for 2 reasons. 1. HE NEVER MENTIONED THIS IN THE CAMPAIGN.

2. he had total republican control in the legislature

gerrym51 on September 14, 2015 at 7:24 PM

This isn’t the time to be associated with the GOP establishment.

Unfortunately for Walker he is a GOP establishment darling, hiring Miss. architect Dayspring, deranged fossil George Will’s wife, he previously hired amnesty activist Liz Mair, etc.

Although the story was a little muddled, he also told a WSJ reporter that he “hadn’t gone nativist”.

People aren’t in the mood for these sorts of games, and you can’t have both establishment support and voter support.

Redstone on September 14, 2015 at 10:25 AM

Well, then get ready for 8 more years of Democrats, because they do not care about this bullshit. You will never hear a Democrat saying, “This is not the time to be associated with the Democratic establishment.” And this is why they will win.

dkmonroe on September 15, 2015 at 12:25 AM

Federal workers have tons of legal protections already – the union is just another layer on top and increases the costs of gov’t.

More importantly, federal unions are where labor gets most of its $$ and manpower for elections. At the very least, if they don’t get rid of these unions, make it voluntary to join/pay.

Monkeytoe on September 14, 2015 at 1:34 PM

But we need Government labor unions to make sure the Government doesn’t treat its employees unfairly or something

Brock Robamney on September 14, 2015 at 4:19 PM

AFGE is of course not the root problem but does exist to protect the federal worker from an autocratic authority. It does not react in the manner of many other unions by striking to demand higher wages. When was the last time AFGE did that? 1981? This is misguided on Walkers behalf. We have a border to secure.

long_cat on September 15, 2015 at 1:15 AM

Dear Gov. Walker,

My friend, Peter, does not have a login ID to post comment. However, here is what he would like to say to you:

“What I liked about Scott Walker was that he could bridge the two major factions of the GOP (there are actually four, but let’s keep it simple)—the moderates and the conservatives.

I also admired his straight-forward attack on public sector unions in Wisconsin. He hit the Democrats right where they live—their cash flow. Public sector unions and the politicians they elect are a major source of revenue for the Dem party. He was rightfully viewed as a major threat to this racket, and they tried repeatedly to stop him. They failed. It would be ironic and shameful if he was finally taken down by his fellow conservatives. This seems to be happening now…He’s trying to straddle two boats which are moving in different directions; that may not be possible right now. This does not bode well for the GOP. As one conservative wrote: Walker represents normalcy. We don’t want normalcy. We want vengeance. So we have Trump.

As far as immigration goes, that’s a tough issue for me. I just want someone who can win. I still think Walker is well-positioned to be that guy, IF he plays his cards right. A big if… Trump supporters need to ask themselves a simple question: are we being played for fools? I have more to say—about how we live in a frisky time—but I’ll get into that later(remember that song we heard at the Western Conservative Summit?). So that’s it for now…”

sohumm on September 15, 2015 at 2:56 AM

Hello Gov. Walker,

In your anti-federal Union messages, it could helps if you emphasize how government bureaucracy hurts Americans via absolute power and wasteful spending. It also helps to convey your messages via novelty and passion.

Meanwhile, there are three most critical issues that conservatives are critically concerned about:

1. Immigration: There are a large number of single issue voters who are against illegal immigration. Your message on protecting American workers from the economic effects from illegal immigration does resonate with the conservative base; yet they are mostly distracted via Donald Trump in reason weeks.

2. Economy: Middle-class jobs and wages have been continuously declining during the past years, and it is been very frustrating to many American workers.

3. National security: Uncontrolled illegal immigration could jeopardize our country’s national security.

And best luck to you on Wednesday’s debate!!

sohumm on September 15, 2015 at 3:03 AM

Hot Air exclusive: Walker pledges to end federal public-employee unions

Excellent!

RJL on September 15, 2015 at 4:09 PM

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