|Wisconsin Legislative Council 11|
Walker Grabs More Power With New Arbitrary Work Rules
Walker’s top-to-bottom rewrite of the rules sweeps away decades worth of protections designed to minimize political influence and assure that state services are delivered equitably and those who provide state services are treated fairly.
“This is another huge power grab from an administration that is hell-bent on rewarding friends and intimidating anybody who dares to speak out,” said Marty Beil, executive director of the Wisconsin State Employees Union, AFSCME Council 24.
Beil said he and his staff are still evaluating the changes that wipe away objective rules reached over decades of mutually beneficial labor-management discussions.
But a first reading reveals a disturbing trend: continued consolidation of power into the hands of Walker’s political appointees. “Walker already eliminated civil service protection for dozens of top agency staff. Now he is giving that political staff all kinds of new power,” Beil said.
For example, political heads of agencies now will control work schedules and overtime with no regard for seniority or other objective factors. The head of the Office of State Employment Relations is granted broad new authority to settle unspecified disagreements, reward favored workers with raises based on unknown criteria, and rewrite the rules in the future with no legislative oversight.
“The governor wants to give political appointees unprecedented power over the lives of employees while employees have nothing to say about anything,” Beil said.
“There was a time when these things were talked about openly and in a spirit of cooperation, not handed down from on high. But, the more we see of this plan, we can understand why the governor would want to jam this through like the rest of his power grabs. It doesn’t pass the smell test,” Beil said.
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