A governor has to really screw up to provoke medical students to march on the State Capitol in protest. Can't recall that ever happening before, but Scott Walker is full of surprises. These medical students were there to demonstrate their support for Medicaid and workers' rights. (Note: There's a rally at the Capitol at noon today, Feb. 24, for BadgerCare and Medicaid.)
As the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel revealed, another budget bill surprise concerns UW Hospital & Clinics, right in the students' backyard. UW Hospital & Clinics is home to American Family Children's Hospital and a world class treatment, education and research facility. Surprise -- it turns out that Gov. Walker take away even more rights from the 5,000 union workers at this great institution than from other public employees in the state.
University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics - which doesn't receive state money directly - would be barred from collectively bargaining with its roughly 5,000 union employees under Gov. Scott Walker's proposed budget-repair bill.Other public employees would retain some bargaining power over wages. UW Hospital & Clinics wouldn't even get that -- even though the hospital is not funded out of general revenues, and there is no budget impact.
The provision surprised health system executives.
What gives? It's tempting to think that since he has wrecked so many other things, he's being destructive out of sheer orneriness. But there's probably more to it than that. I wonder -- just speculating, of course -- after he sells the state-owned power plants will he also try to put UW Hospital & Clinics on the market? And if so, does he think a union-free hospital would be more attractive to private sector buyers?