They didn’t seem to agree on anything during the gubernatorial election, but Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett is hoping he and Governor-elect Scott Walker can find common ground on at least one issue in 2011.
Both leaders want to rein in public employee unions – just not the same ones.
Walker, who has tangled with Milwaukee County unions as county executive, is gearing up for a clash with state workers, seeking wage and benefit cuts and threatening legislation to weaken or eliminate state unions’ bargaining rights if they won’t agree to concessions.
Barrett, meanwhile, wants Walker’s help to change another law that gives Milwaukee police unions extra bargaining leverage. The mayor also wants to block the police and firefighters’ unions from winning one of their top legislative priorities: abolishing residency requirements.
While most public employee unions backed Barrett, the Democratic nominee for governor, the Milwaukee Police Association and the Milwaukee Professional Firefighters Association endorsed Walker, the Republican. Now both unions’ presidents accuse Barrett of seeking retribution for those endorsements, a charge he denies.