Wisconsin governor raises stakes in union fight with threat of job losses
Republican Scott Walker warns Wisconsin state workers they could face redundancy if controversial bill does not pass
By Ewen MacAskill Washington
Tuesday 22 February
The Republican governor of Wisconsin, Scott Walker, escalated his battle with teachers and other public service workers over union rights today when he threatened to send out redundancy notices next week.
Walker also made a direct appeal on television to the public with what was billed as a fireside chat tonight.
The dispute has provoked some of the biggest protests in the US since the Vietnam war in the 1960s and 1970s.
The governor and the unions are in a standoff over Republican moves to end collective bargaining and other measures aimed at neutering public sector trade unions, and Wisconsin has become the test-bed.
Walker, in a statement to the Associated Press, said that if the proposed bill aimed at curbing union rights was not passed, state employees could start receiving redundancy notices as early as next week. “Hopefully we don’t get to that point,” said the governor.
While Walker said the job losses would not take effect immediately, he has warned in the past that up to 1,500 of the state’s 300,000 employees could lose their jobs if the bill is not passed.