AFSCME attacks Tom Barrett over labor cuts to Milwaukee workers
Tom Murray reports Video by 620wtmj.comvideo
MILWAUKEE- Public employee unions have been lining up behind the campaign of Kathleen Falk and now -- one of those unions is going a step further by painting Milwaukee Mayor Barrett as unfriendly towards labor.
AFSCME, the union that represents about 2,000 city of Milwaukee employees says cuts proposed by Mayor Tom Barrett reach farther than those pushed through by Governor Walker.
The union is now backing former Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk in the recall race.
AFSCME Executive Director Rich Abelson says the Barrett plan sought to slash pension, overtime, scheduling protection and disability pay benefits -- and would have seriously compromised collectively bargaining. "Mayor Barrett's announced he's running for governor and therefore the relevance of what happened has taken on greater significance," said Abelson. "The mayor's record on collective bargaining has been disappointing, particularly in the last year."
At his campaign office, Barrett insisted deep cuts in state aid forced him to pursue the workforce concessions -- an effort to avoid layoffs. Barrett contends it was not an attack on the union's power to negotiate. "I have been very, very clear that I support collective bargaining," said Barrett. "I have been clear from day one that I support the restoration of collective bargaining rights.
Now if Barrett falls short in his bid to become governor, he will have to continue to negotiate with this city workers union that is now publicly criticizing his positions.