WAUWATOSA — On a recent visit to the White House, Gov. Scott Walker discussed exporting to the federal level his Act 10 public-sector union law that saved state and local taxpayers billions and hobbled the influence of labor unions.
Walker spoke with Vice President Mike Pence about “how they might take bits and pieces of what we did with Act 10 and with civil service reform and how they could apply that at the national level,” he told reporters Wednesday.
Walker said he’s interested in taking a leadership role on the issue. Act 10 stripped public-sector unions of the ability to collectively bargain over wages, benefits and working conditions, ended arbitration and forced public employees to recertify their unions every year.
“It’s something they’re interested in,” Walker said. “It’s certainly something we’re willing to offer our assistance on, particularly if it helps improve not just the nation, but in turn helps improve the ability to be better stewards of taxpayer dollars here in Wisconsin.”
The Wisconsin State Journal reported in November that Trump could look to Wisconsin as a model for union and civil service changes.
Walker floated a series of proposals to take Act 10 to Washington in the waning days of his short-lived presidential bid, using the term “drain the swamp” long before it became a rallying cry at Trump rallies.
Walker’s proposals included eliminating federal public-sector labor unions, disbanding the National Labor Relations Board (which conducts labor union elections and investigates unfair labor practices), requiring unions to disclose expenditures online, passing nationwide right-to-work legislation, requiring federal employee unions to disclose the amount of dues spent on political activity, protecting union whistle-blowers and repealing the Davis-Bacon Act, which sets prevailing wage laws for federal highway and other public works projects.
Labor union officials noted federal employees already can’t collectively bargain over wages and benefits.
The proposal landed with a thud in the crowded Republican primary — fellow GOP candidate Mike Huckabee criticized Walker for “treating all union members like they are the enemy” — and Walker dropped out of the race a few weeks later.
Walker said he also met with President Donald Trump in the Oval Office on Saturday shortly after Trump got off the phone with Russian president Vladimir Putin. The two discussed the phone call and Trump’s planned visit to Wisconsin’s Harley-Davidson headquarters, which was later canceled.
Walker said the Trump administration gave no explanation for why Trump canceled Thursday’s visit, which was supposed to focus on economic issues.