Rep. Keith Ellison compared Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker to a dictator on Wednesday for his refusal to negotiate with Wisconsin Democrats in the state’s brawl over collective bargaining.
Speaking on a conference call with two Wisconsin state senators who have fled the state and fellow Congressional Progressive Caucus co-chair Rep. Raul Grijalva of Arizona , Ellison said that Walker was unreasonable for refusing to negotiate on ending public employee unions’ collective bargaining rights.
“It is Gov. Walker who is absolutely unreasonable, and is basically taking on the posture of a dictator because he says he won’t negotiate,” Ellison said.
Ellison said that people like Walker have a “vision of America that's similar to somewhere like Nigeria or Pakistan," where a tiny minority is wealthy and the rest of the people struggle.
Wisconsin state Senate Democrats have fled the state to prevent Republicans from passing Walker’s budget plan, which includes the collective bargaining provision. Senate Minority Leader Mark Miller said Wednesday the ball is in Walker’s court to agree to negotiate, though he didn’t say what the Democrats’ end-game is if Walker doesn’t budge.
On Tuesday night, Ellison attended a rally at the Minnesota state Capitol held in support of the Wisconsin workers and legislators. “You are absolute heroes to us,” Ellison told the state senators on the conference call.
Ellison declared that the outcome of the Wisconsin fight would have huge repercussions across the country. “What’s at stake is whether or not we’re going to have a middle class in America,” Ellison said.