This morning union-busting Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker had a change of heart, an epiphany about the need for skilled workers being rewarded for doing difficult jobs. Sorry, teachers and public workers, he doesn’t mean you. Nope, Scott Walker’s realization was born of a much deeper loss, than that of education or infrastructure; it took a real catastrophe to pull the scales from his eyes.
The Green Bay Packers lost a football game.
For those of you who aren’t fans of professional sports, allow me to bring you up to speed:
- The NFL have replaced their (part-time employed) unionized referees with replacement officials. Contract negotiations with the NFLRA broke down, after officials claimed the contract the NFL offered was in effect, a pay cut.
- Through the third week of the NFL season, complaints about the quality of the officiating have skyrocketed, including a controversial call on last night’s Monday Night Football game between the Seattle Seahawks and the Green Bay Packers, that many believe cost Green Bay the game.
- From September to February, Green Bay Packer Football is the most important thing in the world, to many Wisconsinites. Including, apparently, Gov. Walker.
This morning, after a night of trauma and sleeplessness, Walker sent out this message to his Twitter followers:
Addicting Info’s Segway Jeremy Ryan spent over a year reporting on Gov. Ryan’s war on unions in Wisconsin and his near-recall from office. The stories show a year of bitter struggles for union workers besieging the state capitol, trying to keep the same basic rights the NFLRA is asking for. Almost all of those Wisconsin workers were compensated much more modestly than the referees, all of whom also have other employment to fall back on. Not that I have any quarrel with the eminently fair demands the referees are making. I don’t.
It’s also not as though Scott Walker is sensitive to the referees’ plight. He is not. It’s just more of the unintentional irony that seems to follow behind conservatives, like a wake. He wants the union referees back, because the union NFL players he roots for lost a football game; union football players, by the way, who don’t root for Walker. You have to wonder how “painful” the outcome of this sporting event was for him? Did it compare, for instance to the pain Racine County employees felt, replaced by prison workers? Or any of the other losses felt by families, whose livelihoods he impacted?
I watched the game in question. I’ve watched several games this season The call that decided the game last night, was hardly the only questionable call that’s been made; there have been hundreds. The replacement refs found themselves unprepared to do work under these circumstances. They were rushed into work. The NFL version of football has myriad rules that are peculiar to the league. Play is much faster, the stakes are higher and the pressure and attention are enormous.
Scott Walker isn’t wrong in acknowledging that the NFL has lessened its product’s quality by not negotiating fairly with people necessary to run their business well. He’s wrong because he can’t see how he’s done the same thing.
Share Scott Walker’s pain here: