Wis. governor rejects union compromise
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker talks to the media Thursday, Feb. 17, 2011, at the State Capitol in Madison, Wis., in response to 14 state Senators leaving the state to block his bill that would eliminate collective bargaining rights for many state workers.
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker again rejected a proposed compromise Monday to end a political stalemate over collective-bargaining rights that led to 14 Senate Democrats’ skipping town and motivated tens of thousands of people to march on the Capitol in protest for more than a week.
Walker said Monday afternoon he wasn’t interested in compromises that have been floated by public- employee unions and even a Republican state senator. He spoke inside his heavily guarded conference room in the Capitol as thousands of people screamed and stomped outside his office to “Recall Walker!”
Walker reiterated his longstanding position that his proposal is about balancing Wisconsin’s budget and not busting the unions. He called one of the proposed compromises a “nonstarter.”
“For those 14 Senate Democrats, you’ve had your time,” Walker said. “Now it’s time to come home.”
With no resolution imminent, Senate Republicans were resigned Monday to forge ahead with less- controversial business such as tax breaks for dairy farmers and commending the Green Bay Packers on winning the Super Bowl.
As the standoff entered its second week, none of the major players offered any signs of backing down in a high-stakes game of political chicken that has riveted the nation and led to ongoing public protests that drew a high of 68,000 people Saturday.
Thousands more braved cold winds and temperatures in the 20s to march again Monday.