Republican presidential hopeful Scott Walker promised Monday to go far beyond what he did to rein in union power in Wisconsin if elected to lead the country.
The plan includes eliminating the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), eliminating federal employee unions and implementing a national right-to-work law. It will also do away with federal workers being allowed to do union work on taxpayer time. Walker will detail his plan during a town hall-style speech at 6:30 p.m. EST in Las Vegas.
“First, we need to address the National Labor Relations Board which has become a one-sided proxy for the big union bosses,” Walker plans to say, according to speech excerpts released by his campaign. “[This] often at the expense of taxpayers and workers.”
The plan would go far beyond the career defining reforms Walker pursued in 2011 during his first term as governor of Wisconsin. The changes to labor policy in the state, known as Act 10, mostly just outlawed mandatory union dues for state public employees.
“Our plan gets rid of the NLRB,” Walker said. “And reassigns the few necessary responsibilities to more fair and balanced areas of the government. We need to level the playing field which will make it easier to create more jobs and higher wages.”
Critics have argued the NLRB unfairly benefits unions, often at the expense of employers and their workers. This includes changes to union elections, contracting and the franchise model. Walker also promised to outlaw mandatory union dues for all public and private workers. A policy known as right-to-work.
“Our plan calls for national right-to-work,” Walker said. “This is pro-freedom and pro-worker.”
Beyond eliminating the NLRB and passing a nationwide right-to-work law, Walker also plans to end the policy which allows government workers to do union work on taxpayer time. The practice is known as “official time” on the federal level.
“In 2012, taxpayers subsidized 3,395,187 hours of ‘official time’ time spent working for the union or lobbying,” Walker noted. “That cost the taxpayers $156 million.”
“While the IRS was busy harassing conservative organizations they also had more than 200 federal employees whose only work was for the big government union bosses,” Walker continued. “How about the Department of Veterans Affairs? While more than 600,000 veterans were facing delays for medical care in the VA system, more than 250 federal employees.”
Unions and their supporters, however, have argued his reforms ultimately hurt workers because unions help them negotiate with their employers. When Walker passed Act 10, thousands stormed the Wisconsin Capitol in protest. Unions also tried to defeat Walker with a recall election and the 2014 midterm election. After Walker officially announced his presidential run July 13, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka was quick to condemn it. Even President Barack Obama attacked him last week for his reforms.
To get the Republican nomination, Walker will first have to beat Donald Trump, Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio and Rand Paul among others in the Republican primary.
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