In an alternate universe scenario, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker released a video this week thanking Wisconsin public workers and asking the public for nominations for "public servants showing outstanding innovations, exceptional service and ongoing dedication." Just months after the governor spearheaded a bill that would take away almost all collective bargaining rights and slash benefits and pensions for unions and public workers, The Daily Cardinal reported that Walker announced May 4th a State Employee Recognition Day. "In challenging economic and budget times, state employees continue to cut costs and gain efficiencies in the delivery of essential services by utilizing taxpayer resources wisely and seeking better ways to provide high-quality services," Walker said in the proclamation."
Walker also announced a new State Employee Recognition Program and had this to say: "On behalf of all of the people of Wisconsin, I want to say thank you to the thousands of men and women who work each day as public servants here in the state of Wisconsin ...To recognize that, we're not only saying thank you right now, we're putting in place a new state employee recognition system." Walker's union-busting bill generated protests this spring that sometimes saw 125,000 in the streets surrounding the capitol. Walker isn't the only governor trying to spin his way out of very low approval ratings. Ohio Governor John Kasich, whose Republican-led House and Senate passed a copy-cat collective bargaining bill, announced a "Public Service Appreciation Week" to honor "the positive impact public servants have on our communities." It will be interesting to see the full list of emails the Governors receive as a result of these PR stunts. A vigorous campaign to nominate Democratic Senator Tim Carpenter, who has proposed a Wisconsin Constitutional amendment to protect the rights of state workers, quickly got underway on local radio and on Facebook.