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Walker Discusses Compromise with Senate Dems

1:22 PM, Mar 9, 2011 • By JOHN MCCORMACK
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The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that Wisconsin governor Scott Walker is willing to concede on a few points of his budget repair bill, while keeping the core of its collective bargaining reform intact:

Gov. Scott Walker's office released documents Tuesday showing he's willing to give on some points of his union bargaining bill to break the Capitol standoff and bring Senate Democrats back from Illinois.

The e-mails showed ideas and counteroffers - panned Tuesday by state labor leaders and some Democrats - that were made by the Republican governor's aides and two Democrats as they sought some resolution that would allow Democrats to come back to Wisconsin. Senate Democrats have been holed up in Illinois since Feb. 17, when they left the state to block a vote on Walker's budget-repair bill.

The e-mails were first released to the Journal Sentinel through an open-records request and then to other news outlets. The Journal Sentinel also first reported Friday on some of the ideas, which would rewrite some of the provisions most criticized by unions but still sharply restrict their bargaining.

Here are the areas of possible compromise:

The changes discussed would be made not in the budget-repair bill itself but in later legislation, Werwie said. In the latest offer Walker aides e-mailed to Jauch on Sunday evening:

• Public employee union bargaining over wages would no longer be limited to the rate of inflation.

• Unions would be allowed to bargain over certain economic issues, including mandatory overtime, performance bonuses, hazardous duty pay and classroom size. On this set of issues, both labor and management would have to agree to discuss them for bargaining to happen.

• Unions could bargain over workplace safety, but that would be limited to workers' physical health and safety. It would not allow bargaining over hours, overtime, sick leave or family leave, work schedules or vacation.

• Unions would have to vote every three years to remain active, with the first of those votes coming within one year of the bill becoming law. The current version of the bill would require unions to vote to recertify every year - starting this April - and require them to get at least 51% of workers' votes.

• Employees of the University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics Authority would not lose all union bargaining rights.

• The Legislature's budget committee would have to approve changes to state health programs for the poor sought by the Walker administration. The budget-repair bill gives Walker broad powers to reshape those Medicaid health programs, which cover more than 1 million state residents.

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