Scott Walker on Jobs



Don't raise minimum wage; raise whole economy

Hillary Clinton talks about the minimum wage. That's her answer to grow the economy. The answer is to give people the skills and the education so they make far more than minimum wage. I don't want to argue about how low things are going to be, I want to talk about how do we lift everyone up in America. That's what Reagan talked about. It wasn't how bad things were, it was how to make it better for everyone.
Source: 2015 Republican two-tiered primary debate on CNN , Sep 16, 2015

Unemployment dropped in my term from 8% to 4%

Q: When you ran for governor of Wisconsin back in 2010, you promised that you would create 250,000 jobs in your first term of four years. In fact, Wisconsin added barely half that and ranked 35th in the country in job growth. Now you're running for president, and you're promising an economic plan in which everyone will earn a piece of the American dream.

WALKER: Well, the voters in Wisconsin elected me last year for the third time because they wanted someone who aimed high, not aimed low. Before I came in, the unemployment rate was over eight percent. It's now down to 4.6 percent. We've more than made up for the jobs that were lost during the recession. And the rate in which people are working is almost five points higher than it is nationally. You know, people like Hillary Clinton think you grow the economy by growing Washington. [But] one of the best things we can do is get the government out of the way. That's what I'll do as president, just like I did in Wisconsin.

Source: Fox News/Facebook Top Ten First Tier debate transcript , Aug 6, 2015

Wisconsin is open for business, via right-to-work law

Overhauling more than a half century of labor law, Walker signed so-called right-to-work legislation banning labor contracts that require private sector workers to pay union fees. Wisconsin is the 25th state with such a law, giving a victory to manufacturers in the state and a blow to organized labor and some construction firms, which had opposed the measure.

The passage of right to work marked a shift in Walker's position. The governor said repeatedly during the intense battle over Act 10--his 2011 law that repealed most collective bargaining for public workers--that he would not let legislation affecting private-sector unions reach his desk.

Walker signed the bill at a Milwaukee area factory, saying it represented "one more big tool" for attracting businesses and investment to the state. "This sends a powerful message across the country and across the world," Walker said. "'Wisconsin is Open For Business' now is more than just a slogan. It's a way of doing business."

Source: 2015 Wall Street Journal on 2016 presidential hopefuls , Mar 9, 2015

Anti-state unions but pro-private unions

Walker never told voters [during his election campaign] about what would become his signature accomplishment--repealing most collective bargaining for most public workers. During the uproar over that unexpected legislation known as Act 10, Walker said he wouldn't let legislation affecting private-sector workers reach his desk. Now he says he'll sign it.

During the 2012 recall election pushed by public employee unions, Democrats repeatedly said that Walker would eventually take on private-sector unions as well. The governor dismissed that talk about right-to-work legislation as political spin. "It's not going to get to my desk," Walker said in May 2012. "I'm going to do everything in my power to make sure it isn't there because my focal point [is] private-sector unions have overwhelmingly come to the table to be my partner in economic development."

When Senate Republicans committed to moving forward with the measure on Feb. 20, however, Walker quickly said he would sign it.

Source: Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel on 2015 Iowa Freedom Summit , Mar 2, 2015

Right-to-work rules stand up for the hardworking taxpayers

Walker's goal was to excite the activist crowd [at the CPAC convention] with an energetic speech. So he chose not to stand at the podium that was provided, instead walking around the stage, gesturing and playing off the crowd. He touted his blue-collar background and his conservative policy accomplishments, to frequent cheers.

Overall, Walker looked confident. His speech was enthusiastically received. And toward the end, there was even a bit of a spontaneous "moment," when Walker said Wisconsin was about to become a right-to-work state, and a protester began shouting. Walker yelled in response, "Those voices can't drown out the voices of millions of Americans who want us to stand up for the hardworking taxpayers!" The audience stood up and roared with applause.

Source: Vox.com coverage of 2015 Conservative Political Action Conf. , Feb 27, 2015

$35M for Wisconsin Fast Forward: technical skill training

Our Blueprint for Prosperity will increase the Wisconsin Fast Forward program by $35 million to focus on three new areas:
  1. Investment in our technical colleges to eliminate waiting list in high demand fields, like manufacturing, agriculture and Information Technology;
  2. Help high school students get training in high demand jobs through dual enrollment programs between our high schools and technical colleges;
  3. Support programs helping people with disabilities enter the workforce, in our Year of A Better Bottom Line initiative.
I ask that the funds already set aside in the Joint Finance Committee from the surplus at the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation be used for the expansion of Wisconsin Fast Forward. Tomorrow, I will call for a special session to move forward with legislation to return this surplus to the taxpayers and to invest in our technical colleges, train workers for high-demand jobs, and support employment opportunities for people with disabilities.
Source: 2014 State of the State Address to Wisconsin legislature , Jan 22, 2014

Link unemployment benefits to job search every week

Q: What about the extension of long-term unemployment benefits? Basically, for people who've been unemployed for six months or more. In the states, they can get up to a combined state and federal unemployment benefits, they could get up to 73 weeks, close to a year and a half. Where do you stand on that?

WALKER: Any discussion about this should be focused on what sort of reforms are we going to put in place [for] people looking for work. Well, the federal government doesn't require a lot. We just made a change last year so that people had to look five times or more a week for work without our requirement change. They could go as little as two times a week. If I was out of work, I'd be looking more than twice a week for a job. I'd be looking for every day except maybe today. I take Sunday off to go to church and pray that I could find a job on Monday, but I think there need to be reforms in that system.

Source: CNN SOTU 2014 interview series: 2016 presidential hopefuls , Jan 5, 2014

Don't raise minimum wage; train for higher-wage jobs

Q: How about an increase in the minimum wage at the federal level?

WALKER: You know, again, I look at that. Years ago, I worked at McDonald's when I was a kid. Actually, Paul Ryan worked down the road from me in Janesville. I worked in a small town called Delavan. Those were great jobs to start out with. My great fear is for young people like Paul and I were back then and my kids a few years ago when they worked those sorts of jobs, they'd be without work. We have a high unemployment rate amongst young people. If we are to raise that artificially, we'd take that away. Instead, what we need to focus on is helping people find the skills they need to fill much better paying jobs, those family-supporting career-type jobs. Artificially raising the minimum wage whether it's at the state or the federal level is not going to do that. Creating an environment where employers create jobs will do just that.

Source: CNN SOTU 2014 interview series: 2016 presidential hopefuls , Jan 5, 2014

Make union membership optional for government employees

"What if we talk about 'nuclear lite'?" Vos suggested that we keep collective bargaining in place, but place strict limits on it. It would be less controversial to reform collective bargaining than to eliminate it. The plan still need work, but the good news was that we had moved from "Governor, you can't do this" to discussing how we were going to do it. The key elements were:
  1. We would limit collective bargaining to base wages capped at the CPI.
  2. No other issues would be subject to bargaining including benefits such as health insurance.
  3. Instead of barring the unions from negotiating with the government, we would require that they first demonstrate they had the support of a majority of all their members by holding an annual recertification vote.
  4. We required teachers and other public employees to contribute at least 5.8% of their salaries toward the cost of their pensions, and to pay 12.6% of their health insurance premiums.
  5. Finally, we made union membership optional.
Source: Unintimidated, by Scott Walker, p. 49-50 , Nov 18, 2013

Union bosses donate to campaigns, then get sweetheart deals

The unions liked to paint collective bargaining as a civil "right," like free speech. But collective bargaining isn't a right, it's a racket. Here is how the scam works in the public sector:
  1. The government automatically collects compulsory union dues from the paychecks of public workers.
  2. The government then gives the money to the union bosses.
  3. The union bosses then give that money to pro-union politicians campaign contributions.
  4. The union-backed politicians use that money to get elected
  5. Once elected, the union-backed politicians then sit across the table from the union bosses to "negotiate"--purportedly on behalf of the taxpayers.
  6. But instead of representing the taxpayers, they do the bidding of the unions by providing excessive wages, benefits, and pensions.
  7. They line the pockets of union bosses through sweetheart deals.
  8. Taxpayers lose tens of millions every year in higher costs.
  9. The cycle starts all over again.
Source: Unintimidated, by Scott Walker, p. 79-80 , Nov 18, 2013

When given the choice, employees don't choose union

Having failed to flip the state supreme court, the unions turned to the federal courts. They filed a lawsuit arguing that Act 10 was unconstitutional because our "paycheck protection" provision barring forced collection of union dues violated the First Amendment and the Equal Protection Clause because they exempted police and firefighters--creating 2 classes of public employees.

For unions, this was the core of their opposition. Paycheck protection gave government workers the right to choose whether or not to join a union and pay union dues. The unions didn't want them to have that choice.

Once the WI supreme court upheld Act 10, and the paycheck protection provision went into effect, many public workers did in fact decide to keep the money. In August 2011 "the statewide teachers union issued layoff notices to 42 employees, about 40% of its staff." In March 2011, when we passed our reforms, membership in AFSCME stood at 62,818. A year later, membership had fallen to 28,745.

Source: Unintimidated, by Scott Walker, p.128-9 , Nov 18, 2013

Federal employees have limited collective bargaining power

The president called our reforms "an assault on unions. But I had bent over backward to avoid criticizing public workers. Moreover, we were giving our public workers in WI a much better deal than President Obama gives most federal workers.

Ever since 1978, when President Jimmy Carter signed into law the Civil Service Reform Act, collective bargaining for federal employees has been severely limited. Today, federal workers cannot bargain for benefits or wages, and cannot be compelled to join a union or pay union dues. I don't recall President Obama suggesting that they were being abused in any way, or lifting a finger to right this supposed injustice. To the contrary, Obama unilaterally froze their pay--and he didn't have to get permission from a union steward to do it. If limiting collective bargaining in WI constituted an "attack on unions," then why didn't the president champion giving collective bargaining powers to workers at the federal level?

Source: Unintimidated, by Scott Walker, p.168-9 , Nov 18, 2013

Hypothetically, make WI a right-to-work state

Barrett made the case that if Walker is allowed to remain in office, he'll turn Wisconsin into a right-to work state. When pressed by the moderator if he would veto right-to-work legislation, Walker hedged. "I've said it's not going to get there. You're asking a hypothetical," he replied.

Barrett said voters should read between the lines on that answer. "Mark my words, he'll sign it," Barrett said. "He would have a fall from grace with the far right if he would say he's going to veto that."

Source: Politico.com on 2012 Wisconsin gubernatorial recall debate , Jun 1, 2012

Unions dislike it, but he was elected to take on sacred cows

Unions protested after Walker attempted to reform and reduce the state's budget. Walker was elected to tackle his state's budget, which necessarily meant having to confront sacred government spending cows--including exorbitant union benefits packages and collective bargaining powers that had helped to put taxpayers in debt. The Tea Party represents the first time in a long time that the overburdened taxpayer has had a voice.
Source: Now Or Never, by Sen. Jim DeMint, p. 28 , Jan 10, 2012

Create 250,000 jobs via special legislative session

The unemployment rate in December dropped to 7.5% but that is still 3 points worse than it was just 3 years ago. We must do better. Coach Vince Lombardi once said, "Success demands singleness of purpose." We are defining success for this administration by our ability to shape an environment where 250,000 jobs are created.

Every action of our administration should be looked at through the lens of job creation. That is why--moments after taking the oath of office as your Governor--I called a special session of the Legislature to focus on jobs. Already, we are sending a clear message that Wisconsin is open for business! That singleness of purpose is why we hit the ground running on our very first day and why by our second day we had already introduce legislation to improve Wisconsin's economic environment. All told, we introduced 8 pieces of legislation to instill in our state an environment that encourages job creation, and to send the message to employers that now is the time to start hiring.

Source: 2011 Wisconsin State of the State Address , Feb 1, 2011

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Page last updated: Mar 24, 2016