Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Not all police, firefighters supported Wis. governor

The statement

"The firefighters, the policemen and others who supported (Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker) in his election bid … don't have to worry about their collective bargaining rights."

Donna Brazile, pundit, in an interview on ABC's This Week

The ruling

Our first stop was checking Walker's proposal. It asks state workers to pay more for their pensions and health insurance, which reduces take-home pay. But it also sets limits on collective bargaining power for the public sector unions.

In a letter to public workers, Walker explained that his proposal would limit bargaining only to base pay, which means unions could not bargain for improved health insurance, working conditions or pension benefits. Pay increases would be limited to increases in the cost of living, using the Consumer Price Index, unless voters approved other pay increases via a referendum. Union members would have to vote to stay unionized each year, and contracts could last only a year, among other limitations.

Walker concluded the changes by noting, "Local police and fire employees and state patrol troopers and inspectors are exempted from these changes."

So Brazile is right that police, firefighters and others are exempt. Our next question was, are these the groups "who supported him in his election bid"?

During the campaign, leaders of the Milwaukee Professional Firefighters Association and Milwaukee Police Association appeared in an ad supporting Walker and blasting his opponent, Democrat Tom Barrett. Walker also won endorsements from the West Allis Professional Police Association and the Wisconsin Troopers Association. He didn't get the endorsements of two statewide unions, the Wisconsin Professional Police Association and the Professional Fire Fighters of Wisconsin.

Wisconsin Professional Police Association executive director Jim Palmer said the statewide organization is much larger than the local Milwaukee police union that endorsed Walker. The state group has about 11,000 members vs. Milwaukee's roughly 1,400, he said. Similarly, the state firefighters association has more than 3,000, compared with the Milwaukee union's 875.

The state police union is opposed to the changes Walker is proposing for other public sector workers, which include county jailers and police dispatchers, Palmer said. The statewide firefighters' union also opposes it.

Because the statement leaves out the fact that the police and fire unions broke ranks on whether to support Walker, we rate this statement Half True.

Angie Drobnic Holan, Times staff writer

Edited for print. For more, go to

Not all police, firefighters supported Wis. governor 02/21/11 [Last modified: Monday, February 21, 2011 9:37pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Mulberry teens, 15 and 18, killed in Plant City when car runs red light, FHP says


    Two Mulberry teens are dead and their cousin, who was scheduled to graduate from Mulberry High School Thursday evening, was critically injured after their car ran a red light and collided with another vehicle in Plant City Thursday afternoon.

  2. Review: Idina Menzel belts out powerful, courageous performance at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater


    The best moment of Idina Menzel’s show at Ruth Eckerd Hall Thursday came during the singer’s best-known song, Let It Go.

  3. Former Campbell Park Elementary principal Christine Hoffman will retire


    Former Campbell Park Elementary principal Christine Hoffman, who was under investigation for sending a directive to her staff that said white students should be in the same class when creating …

    Former Campbell Park Elementary principal Christine Hoffman will retire pending School Board approval. Hoffman created an uproar in April when she sent an email to staff directing them to keep white students in the same class when creating classroom rosters.
  4. GOP Montana win may be blip in Democrats' anti-Trump hopes


    BOZEMAN, Mont. — A Montana Republican businessman won the state's U.S. House seat after being charged with assaulting a reporter on the eve of the election, a victory that may temper Democrats' hopes for a massive anti-Trump wave next year.

    Republican Greg Gianforte speaks to supporters after being declared the winner at a election night party for Montana's special House election against Democrat Rob Quist at the Hilton Garden Inn on Thursday in Bozeman, Montana.
  5. More than half of Senate signs onto bill to end Cuba travel restrictions


    WASHINGTON - Fifty-five members of the Senate, including Bill Nelson, have endorsed legislation to fully lift restrictions on travel to Cuba.