Governors disagree on labor standoff
March 1st, 2011
08:39 AM ET
11 years ago

Governors disagree on labor standoff

Washington (CNN) - Two state governors disagreed Tuesday on whether the ongoing labor standoff in Wisconsin constituted 'union bashing.'

Appearing on CNN's American Morning, Florida Gov. Rick Scott, a Republican, framed the debate in Wisconsin as a matter of fairness.

"It's a debate about how you treat taxpayers fairly and how you treat government workers fairly," Scott said.

Scott indicated that state workers in his own state of Florida would be contributing 5 percent to their retirement plans, a measure he described as "treating taxpayers fairly and government workers fairly."

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, a Democrat, took a different stance.

"This is about union bashing. This is about eliminating the unions," O'Malley said. "This is about taking advantage of this crisis in joblessness in our country in order to destroy public employees unions. I don't think it's the way we get things done."

O'Malley continued, "I'm glad that some Republican governors are distancing themselves from this behavior."

Scott argued that he was not attempting to distance himself from the embattled Wisconsin governor.

"I'm not distancing myself from Scott Walker," he said. "What he's trying to do is the same thing I'm trying to do. We've got to balance our budgets. And we've got to treat taxpayers fairly and government workers fairly."

Filed under: Martin O'Malley • Rick Scott
soundoff (24 Responses)
  1. ConservaFascists

    Mr. O'Malley is absolutely correct. Gov. Scott and other republican governors are trying to distance themselves from Gov. Walker's position when they all have the same agenda in mind. They want to destroy the unions so democrats won't have funding for elections while corporations such as Koch and big oil put unprecedented amounts of money into republican pockets. Sounds like fascism to me.

    March 1, 2011 08:49 am at 8:49 am |
  2. kd

    Scott is a criminal. Why hold that guy up? Of COURSE he wants to see the end of unions

    March 1, 2011 08:50 am at 8:50 am |
  3. DENNA

    Gov. Scott is trying to bust the union and we all know it. If the unions are willing to compromise and give up some things, why is he pushing to get rid of collective bargaining? Because that was his and all Rethugs plan to begin with. I have never been a part of any union, but I have read extensively on America before unions and people, we really need to keep the unions.

    March 1, 2011 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  4. American

    Fairness coming from Rick Scott? Please. How 'fair' was it when Scott's company robbed taxpayers out of the worst Medicare fraud in US history? How 'fair' is it when dictator Scott unilaterally breaks a bipartisan law in FL for high speed rail and JOBS?

    Plus, how 'fair' is it when lying Walker denies taxpayers access to our Capitol building?

    These imperial governors are out of control against American working families. Enough!

    March 1, 2011 09:02 am at 9:02 am |
  5. mike

    as the republicans dig there heals in the american voters are labeling them as anti labor for the middle class and once they are viewed that way it will never go away even if they claim they are a moderate it won't change there minds they want jobs and they are not delivering

    March 1, 2011 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  6. Realistic

    republicans are trying to destroy unions and its very clear to anyone whose head is not up their butts..The middle class became the *middle class* because of the unions and without them there would be *the wroking poor* and the *mega rich* only.

    March 1, 2011 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  7. The reality is...

    ...and we have known for years that "fair" is not making hardworking taxpayers pay for the lifetime healthcare and plump pensions of government workers when taxpayers can't afford them for themselves and, therefore, can never even dream of retiring!

    March 1, 2011 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  8. beccaa

    They also need to remember that government workers are also tax payers.

    March 1, 2011 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  9. mike

    the states that are the right to work states are in red ink so if the unions were the problem how come these states are in red ink so I guess we will start recruiting mexicans to do the work once we begin to lower the wages to the point that no one will want to do the work did you ever stop and think why there is such a demand for mexican laborers

    March 1, 2011 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  10. Concerned former union member

    Governor Scott doesn't have a leg to stand on - The unions in question had agreed to the retirement, healthcare and salary concessions. What they did NOT agree to was the loss of the ability to collectively bargain for their contracts.

    At this stage of the game, Governor Walker is trying his damnedest to break the unions, pure and simple, and make things "easier" for his 'Big Business' supporters to line their own pockets with tax cuts. (This seems to be glossed over by all the reports....Wonder why?!?!?!)

    March 1, 2011 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  11. UrAverageJoe

    Yes Mr. Walker, we've got to treat the taxpayer fairly! So, start demanding that the wall street gurus that created this financial crisis we're in and bankrupted the public employee pension plans be sent to jail . . . or better yet taken to Guantanamo and water-boarded for the terrorists they are!

    March 1, 2011 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  12. Nick San Diego

    Lets stay focused. It's not about the workers contributing $$. They've agreed to that. It's about COLLECTIVE BARGAINING.
    Scott just overreached. He has now re-energized the worker. Democrats will com back strong 2012.

    March 1, 2011 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  13. Roscoe

    Why not separate the two issues, balancing the budget and whether public employee unions should be eliminated? The issues related to the rich union contracts should be layed at the feet of who ever is negotiating for the people. I think our elected officials have failed on all fronts on this issue. The pension plans for firefighters and police are ridiculously lavish.

    March 1, 2011 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  14. Patrish

    We in Florida already are not happy with Gov Scott – as a CEO he was forced to resign and his company was huge fine for Medicare fraud. Think I want him running my state???

    March 1, 2011 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  15. The Real Tom Paine

    Would Governor Scott be willing to swear to that in court?

    Fairness, my eye.

    March 1, 2011 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  16. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    Walker already got the unions to agree to all his financial demands. He is now out to break those unions of any negotiating power they have received over the decades.

    March 1, 2011 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  17. Stay Informed

    Scott is simply trying to pit middle class workers against each other to distract from the real issues. Don't fall for it. People need to understand that the power of the middle class/regular workers has been greatly weakened over the last 30 years and the stagnating salaries and loss of benefits show this. Any further loss of workers' rights will only result in even more salary reductions and benefit losses. Now people need to understand that the Republican party's policies continue to allow the very wealthy to suck up all of our wealth and resources while at the same time requiring the middle class to keep sacrificing in order to give these very wealthy people more and more. Look at Walker in WI and Christie in NJ. Walker gives $140 million in tax cuts (unpaid for) to the wealthy and corporations and then demands that teachers, snow plow drivers, nurses (all middle class workers) give up $150 million in salary and benefits to pay for it. Christie is giving huge tax cuts to those who make over $1 million a year and then bullying teachers and demanding salary cuts from them. The problem is that the wealthy and big corporate sponsors of the Republicans are willing to put a lot of money into elections in order to keep things the way they are. It worked in 2010. Don't let it work again in 2012. Our middle class depends on it.

    March 1, 2011 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  18. PAUL!

    Golly, the Florida Gov. who bilked U.S. tax payers out of nearly a billion dollars in his medicade scam is now worried about making it fair for tax payers?

    Hypocrite truly is spelled: GOP!!

    March 1, 2011 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  19. kakaraka

    Mr Scott, please stop your double language. Walker is not treating government employees fairly. So you're distancing from him by aserting he needs to treat employees fairly. O'Marly, you are right, some governors are distancing from Walker, a dictator, an autocrate who doesn't want to talk to unions but koch brothers, millionaires. What a one term governor waco.

    March 1, 2011 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  20. America fell asleep

    Wisonsin state workers are contributing to their pensions by way of deferred wages. Wages are negotiated and pension contributions are paid for with monies that they would be getting on their paychecks. These Gov workers are also tax payers.. Doesn't sound like they are on some kind of government gravy train to me. There was no budget crisis in Wisconsin. If there were, why did Gov Walker give out millions in tax breaks to draw business to Wis?

    March 1, 2011 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  21. PalmReader

    In all probablity, these TeaPer Govenors will be voted out of office in their next election cycle. Once their agenda's are complete, and the public has a taste of their *business* acumen, many might not even survive their first full 4 years . . . but will instead be facing recall. One guesses that the public really isn't quite ready for shaddy CEO's running their government after all.

    March 1, 2011 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  22. Limbaugh is a liberal

    Reapublicans lie when they say they care about balancing the budget. Most of their deficit came from the tax cut to their business buddies, NOT from benefits to teachers' unions.
    AND amazingly the teacher's union HAS offered to give up benefits. They only ask to retain their right to collective bargaining. It is the governor who's holding the state hostage by demanding all or nothing.
    Republicans don't care about balanced budgets. They only care about cozying up to big business, giving them tax cuts, and using that as an excuse to take away workers' rights.
    It's the teacher's union today. It could be YOUR rights, YOUR job security tomorrow! Wake up America!

    March 1, 2011 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  23. Anonymous

    Maryland has a governor with sense and guts. While Florida's governor really silently agrees that Wisconsin is trying to bust unions you can see he doesn't have the guts to say it. Boy these republicans know how to pick shills for corporations don't they.

    March 1, 2011 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  24. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Not yet convicted gov. Scott, has given his breaks to his big business donors, and has determined that pensions and public employees will pay for it. He evidently did not get the message from the Koch brothers, that he was to eliminate collective bargaining, too.

    March 1, 2011 10:54 am at 10:54 am |