Madison – Two unions that were largely spared from Gov. Scott Walker’s curbs on collective bargaining endorsed him Monday.
Walker is facing a recall this summer because of his successful plan to all but eliminate collective bargaining for most public workers. Walker’s plan mostly left alone police officers and firefighters, and the unions representing Milwaukee cops and Milwaukee firefighters renewed their support for him Monday. The two were some of the only unions to endorse Walker when he initially ran in November 2010.
“Governor Walker has a strong record of supporting public safety with an unwavering commitment to first responders,” said a statement from Michael Crivello, president of the Milwaukee Police Association. “Today, we are proud to announce our support for Governor Walker’s reelection.”
The Walker campaign released a similar statement from Dave Seager, president of the Milwaukee Professional Firefighters Association.
Most other unions endorsed Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett in the 2010 race for governor. Barrett is again running, but before he got in the race many unions endorsed former Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk.
Jim Palmer, executive director of the Wisconsin Professional Police Association, called Monday’s endorsements inappropriate. His group, which represents police officers everywhere in the state but Milwaukee, endorsed Barrett in 2010.
“I think the endorsement by these two unions of Scott Walker is an embarrassment,” Palmer said.
He noted police and firefighters were allowed to keep most of their ability to collectively bargain, but they lost their ability to negotiate over some aspects of their health care. Palmer said some police agencies are now threatening to set health-care deductibles of as much as $10,000 if police unions do not agree to concessions.
He said he didn’t understand how the Milwaukee unions could endorse Walker given that change in state law.
Palmer said his board is considering whether to endorse in the primary. But an endorsement in the general election is guaranteed, he said.
“It is an absolute that we will endorse in the general — and it will not be for Scott Walker,” he said.