(MADISON, Wis.) -- As the dispute between Wisconsin’s Republican Gov. Scott Walker, labor unions and their allies continues to expand beyond the state’s borders, so too are the cheers of support for and against him. In fact, a trio of Walker’s GOP counterparts expressed reservations this week about pursuing a similar strategy in their states.
In Indiana, Gov. Mitch Daniels called on Republican state legislators to stand down on their push for a so-called right-to-work bill that seeks to ban agreements between unions and employers that would make union membership a condition of employment. Daniels argued Wednesday that it would interfere with other legislative priorities, including education reform.
“For reasons I've explained more than once I thought there was a better time and place to have this very important and legitimate issue raised,” Daniels told reporters in his state.
Daniels’ allies, however, portrayed his approach as simply a matter of timing, noting that immediately upon taking office he signed an executive order limiting the collective bargaining rights of public employees. And, despite his own priorities in Indianapolis, Daniels’ has also recently expressed support for Walker.
Meanwhile, in Florida newly-elected GOP Gov. Rick Scott said that while Gov. Walker was right to try to curtail public employee benefits, he differed on the question of collective bargaining.
“My belief is as long as people know what they're doing, collective bargaining is fine,” Scott said in an interview with a local Tallahassee radio station on Tuesday.
And in Pennsylvania, a spokesman for Republican Gov. Tom Corbett, said earlier this week that while the governor would be willing to sign a so-called right-to-work bill “that's not a top priority of his right now.”
In the Wisconsin State Assembly, Democratic lawmakers held an overnight filibuster in an attempt block consideration of the bill that would to strip public sector workers of almost all of their bargaining rights as part of Gov. Walker’s budget repair proposal. The governor threatened to start sending out layoff notices to state workers next week if a bill is not passed in time.
And despite some trepidation among some governors, Walker is continuing to get high-profile backing from other quarters. House Speaker Newt Gingrich published a message on the Web site, Human Events, today titled: “Help Scott Walker.”
“In Madison, Wisconsin, we are witnessing a profound struggle between the right of the people to govern themselves and the power of entrenched, selfish interests to stop reforms and defy the will of the people,” Gingrich wrote.
And other governors are starting to band together to support Walker’s efforts in Wisconsin. The Republican Governors Association launched a Web site yesterday called “Stand With Scott” that features pledges of support from GOP Governors Rick Perry of Texas, Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, Haley Barbour of Mississippi and Bob McDonnell of Virginia.
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