Law enforcement union members 'at each other's throats' over budget plan

Law enforcement union members 'at each other's throats' over budget plan

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Gov. Scott Walker's plan to end collective bargaining for most state employees is tearing one labor organization apart.

The Wisconsin Law Enforcement Association, which represents about 900 state troopers, inspectors, police communication operators, Motor Vehicle Department field agents and other state police, includes some members who have been exempted from Walker's plan, said WLEA President Tracy Fuller on Sunday.

"Our union is being torn apart about this," said Fuller, who is a State Patrol inspector from Madison. "We've got members at each other's throats."

Walker exempted the State Patrol and its inspectors from the bill, but UW and Capitol police, among others in the WLEA, would lose their collective bargaining rights if the budget repair bill passes.

"I want to tell our members not to turn and destroy each other when we have to do battle against the governor's budget proposal," Fuller said. "Let's not kill each other over this thing."

Fuller said he regretted that the Wisconsin Trooper's Association, which is an organization made up of many WLEA members, endorsed Gov. Scott Walker - WLEA itself did not endorse anyone, he said.

Fuller, who said the State Patrol did not ask for the exemption, said the WLEA is meeting Tuesday to decide whether it can survive. WLEA members had been affiliated with AFSCME Council 24 before breaking off on their own in 2005. State troopers and inspectors make up about half the membership, Fuller said.

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