Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI) has now taken the latest step in his effort to pass his budget proposal and its anti-public employee union provisions: Sending out layoff notices to the state employee unions. However, nobody is fired just yet.
Instead, Walker says the terminations could happen as early as April 4 — but can be avoided if the state Senate Democrats who fled the state in order to block the three-fifths budget quorum will just come back.
As WisPolitics reports:
According to the guv’s office, individual employees will get a notice at least two weeks before their layoff takes effect.
Walker’s office also noted in a statement that “if the Senate Democrats come back to Wisconsin, these notices may be able to be rescinded and layoffs avoided. Without Senate action within 15 days, individual employees may begin to receive potential termination notifications.”
As Greg Sargent reported today, the Wisconsin Dems aren’t really fazed here, and instead are determined to make any political fallout from layoffs stick only to Walker and the Republicans. “We don’t think Republicans want these layoffs to happen,” state Dem spokesman Graeme Zielinski told Greg. “They’re going to eat this, and it’s dawning on them.”
And as TPM’s previously reported, Walker has a serious Achilles’ heel when it comes to all of this: His phone call with blogger Ian Murphy, who was posing as Republican financier David Koch, in which Walker spoke of using layoff threats as political leverage in his quest to break the Dems and the public employee unions:
“The other thing is I’ve got layoff notices ready. We put out the at-risk notices. We’ll announce Thursday, and they’ll go out early next week. And we’ll probably get 5 to 6,000 state workers will get at-risk notices for layoffs. We might ratchet that up a little bit, you know.”