Updated: Thursday, 09 Dec 2010, 8:38 AM CST
Published : Wednesday, 08 Dec 2010, 9:30 PM CST
GREEN BAY - Wisconsin state union employees indicated they are not thrilled with how Governor-elect Scott Walker wants to use the employees to help balance the state budget, who has talked about getting rid of unions altogether.
"The bottom line is we want to have a better ability to control what we do when it comes to wages and benefits," Walker , a Republican, said during a public appearance.
Walker laid out plans this week to help balance Wisconsin's budget. Those plans include state workers making a five percent contribution to their pensions and increasing their share of health care costs to 12 percent, up from between four and six percent.
"We can no longer live in a society where the public employees are the haves, and the taxpayers who foot the bills are the have-nots," said Walker.
"We certainly aren't the haves, in spite of what he says. I just see this as all political posturing," said Marty Beil.
Beil is executive director of the Wisconsin State Employees Union , which represents 22,000 state workers in various departments including corrections, universities, mental health, and social work.
"It's like the plantation owner talking to the slaves. We've moved in Walker's mentality from public service to public servitude," Beil explained to FOX 11. When asked "Do you really think comparison to plantation owner and slave is accurate?" Beil replied: "I do. I really do because here he sits as the incoming governor, basically issuing mandates about what he wants to happen. Governors and employers don't do that especially in the modern era of labor relations. We sit down at a table to talk about things."
"There needs to be a reality check for everybody across the state of Wisconsin," said Walker. "You don't cut hundreds of millions of dollars out of the state budget unless you have alternatives like we're talking about in the wage and benefit reform."
Walker's spokesman issued a statement in response to union comments saying Walker wants all options on the table, state workers are great people, but there needs to be a "shared sacrifice" to get through a tough budget.
The union for state workers however says it is meeting with other unions and working on a plan of how to react to the new governor.
The Wisconsin State Employees Union expects legislators to meet in a special session next week to approve the state contracts. Those contracts cover two years, and end next summer. Even if that happens under the current administration, state workers will have to work with Walker going forward.