Union leaders have accused Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker of selectively releasing emails to make him seem more willing to negotiate with his opponents.
The governor released emails between his staff and Democratic state Senators to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and other news outlets on Tuesday. The emails appeared to show that Walker was willing to make concession on his budget repair bill after three weeks of large demonstrations.
"Scott Walker is literally being sued by multiple Wisconsin media outlets for failing to release emails related to the budget repair bill, yet he's willing to selectively leak emails he believes create the illusion he's willing to make concessions," Rick Badger, Executive Director of AFSCME Council 40, said in a statement.
According to an email sent to Democratic Sen. Bob Jauch, Walker's aides offered to amend his bill so that it would no longer limit public employee union bargaining over wages, mandatory overtime, bonuses, and hazardous duty pay.
"Behind the smoke and mirrors, Scott Walker is still hell-bent on stripping all collective bargaining rights from thousands of Wisconsin workers - including child care providers, Quality Home Care Workers, UW Faculty and Academic Staff," Badger continued. "The very few bargaining rights he uses to create the illusion he's willing to compromise are still drastically limited, and the ability of unions to effectively bargain would still be eliminated entirely."
In mid-February, 14 Democratic state senators left Wisconsin to avoid having to vote on the bill. There are 19 Republican senators, but the Senate needs a minimum of 20 members present to debate and vote on the bill.
In an interview with Reuters Insider last week, Walker vowed never to compromise on his plan to limit the bargaining rights of public employees.
"If Scott Walker really wants to negotiate, he should name a time and place sit down with Democratic Senators," Badger added. "This deal is not going to be struck through stunts involving leaked emails and press conferences, and it's time for Walker to come to the table and negotiate a solution that will get Wisconsin moving forward again."