Scott Walker stuck to his guns and sent layoff notices to over 100 county employees. Strangely enough the union showed back up at the bargaining table-
Health care had been the biggest issue in the talks, but the focus shifted to job security after Walker started action to lay off dozens of courthouse complex maintenance and security workers and parks maintenance workers, and to hire private contractors to take over some of their jobs. The union won a temporary order blocking the layoffs, and it would have sought a permanent order in Wednesday's hearing if a deal had not been reached.
The county board supervisors almost blew it by attempting to override Scott Walker with a temporary solution, that only funded the jobs for three months-
In his budget, Walker sought privatization and job cuts as a way to push AFSCME toward health care concessions. Supervisors rejected that idea and instead chose to keep the jobs intact but fund them for only three months, as their bargaining strategy.
Unfortunately for the county board supervisors, they are not allowed to fund the jobs for only three months. This invalidates the budget, so Scott Walker proceeded with the layoffs.
Now, it appears that Scott Walker and the taxpayers got the concessions they needed from the union-
AFSCME previously had agreed that its members would pay more for their health insurance and that controversial pension and sick leave benefits would be scaled back. Those were key goals for Walker, who won office amid the scandal surrounding the generous benefits and who has repeatedly blamed the county's financial problems on benefit costs.
It is truly pathetic that the county board supervisors did everything in their power to block Scott Walker.
For over two years this thing had dragged on and on.
Union leaders hope to hold a ratification vote within the next three or four weeks, Abelson said. The County Board could vote on the contract Feb. 1, Holloway and Schmitt said.
Now, all this deal awaits is county board approval and union approval.
We'll see what happens with that.