Barrett outlines plan for restoring collective bargaining rights

Recall supporters march to show support for Barrett

Democratic candidate for governor Tom Barrett on Thursday rolled out his plan to restore collective bargaining rights in Wisconsin.

He said collective bargaining rights need to be restored without linking them to the state budget.

Barrett announced in a news conference Thursday afternoon that as governor he’d call a special session of the Legislature to take up a stand-alone bill to reinstitute collective bargaining rights rather than threaten to veto the entire state budget without the item, as his Democratic opponent Kathleen Falk has proposed.

Barrett called it “dangerous” to rely on the state budget to resolve the issue.

“For the Republicans, it might even be a dream scenario that they could simply say, ‘Look, we’ll just live with the (Gov. Scott) Walker budget.’ I don’t want the Scott Walker budget to be a permanent budget in the state of Wisconsin,” Barrett said.

But Barrett would need Republican support to get the measure through as both houses of the state Legislature are currently controlled by Republicans. Barrett said he believes Democrats will take control of the Senate in the recall elections.

In a statement Thursday afternoon, Falk’s campaign manager said Falk is completely committed to restoring collective bargaining rights and is “willing to do what’s necessary to accomplish it, including playing hardball with Republicans.”

Falk’s campaign also pointed out that she has the support of many state employee unions, including AFSCME and WEAC.

Falk, Barrett, state Sen. Kathleen Vinehout and Secretary of State Doug La Follette are vying for the Democratic nomination to take on Walker in a June recall election.

The primary is May 8.