Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley
, chairman of the Democratic Governors’ Association, says GOP governors trying to reduce budget shortfalls by curtailing public-employee unions “wouldn’t last a second” in the corporate world, their efforts have nothing to do with job creation, and are “absolutely crazy.”
“Everyone in America, including in places like Wisconsin and Ohio, want their governors to be focused on creating jobs and getting people back to work,” O’Malley Thursday said on MSNBC’s “Hardball.” “They want us to solve problems, they don’t want us to settle old political scores.
“This is absolutely crazy – it has nothing to do with what the people who elect us want us to do,” he said. “We’ve had to have difficult conversations in Maryland with our public-employees unions, but we brought people to the table to solve the problems. Were people happy? No. But we got to find a way to move forward.”
Host Chris Matthews asked O’Malley whether GOP governors, like Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, have “overreached” politically in attempting to take away the bargaining rights of public employees.
“I believe that they have,” O’Malley said. “What’s more I believe, Chris, that their behavior, and their desire to sharpen their ideological ax on public-employees unions, is actually keeping them from solving the problem.
“Democratic governors have actually had to also balance our budget every year, we’ve all had to cut spending, we’ve reduced the size of government, but we have done it in a way that focuses on solving the problem, not in a way that tries to punish our political enemies,” he said.
“We’ve asked a lot of our public employees, many of the same concessions they have asked for in Wisconsin, but we are not going after the right of people to associate freely, to join unions if they should so choose, or to have collective bargaining,” O’Malley continued. “That’s what you see people reacting against. They want us to solve problems and create jobs.”
O’Malley said whether in the private or public sector, you have to work with employees “in order to improve performance and accomplish meaningful things.”.
“And these guys, if they were head of a private corporation, wouldn’t last a second,” he said. “You don’t attack [employees]and demoralize them. You focus on solving problems and getting things done.”
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