Walker: State Layoffs Could Happen If Anti-Union Bill Remains Delayed By Courts

Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI) says layoffs of public employees could be on the way — if his new law curtailing public employee union rights reminds bottled up in court.

WisPolitics reports:

Gov. Scott Walker says he may have to again consider laying off state employees if his collective bargaining law remains tied up in the courts for much more than the next week or two.

“(But) for now, we’re still ready to implement it once we get the green light from the courts,” Walker told WisPolitics.com as part of an administration effort to mark his first 100 days in office today.

The Republican guv adds the state has no plans to retroactively collect the higher health care and pension payments from state employees if the courts clear the way.

Three and a half weeks ago, Dane County (Madison) Judge Maryann Sumi blocked the law on procedural grounds, issuing a temporary restraining order on the grounds the plaintiff, the Dane County District Attorney, had a likelihood of success in his complaint that a key conference committee used to advance the bill — and to get around the state Senate Dems’ walkout from the state — had violated the state’s open-meetings law by failing to give proper 24-hours notice.

The Walker administration then made multiple attempts to disregard the ruling and implement the law anyway, before ultimately backing down in the face of repeated orders.

This is not the first time that Walker has warned of potential layoffs connected to the delayed passage of his plan. Back in February and early March, when the state Senate Democrats had fled the state in an attempt to block a three-fifths budget quorum — which was ultimately foiled through the special conference committee maneuver — the Walker administration had sent out preliminary layoff notices, saying in a statement that “if the Senate Democrats come back to Wisconsin, these notices may be able to be rescinded and layoffs avoided.”

Back in February, during Walker’s infamous 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 resistance by 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.”