Scott Walker: I will stop 'big-government union bosses'

Story highlights

  • The Wisconsin governor was in Las Vegas on Monday to announce his labor policies
  • The plan will also feature Walker's centerpiece issue of right-to-work legislation

Washington (CNN)GOP presidential candidate Scott Walker took the hardline crackdown on unions that made him a national figure in Wisconsin to the presidential campaign trail on Monday.

The Wisconsin governor appeared in Las Vegas for a campaign town hall where he announced his labor policies.
The proposals largely resembled the policies he pushed through as governor of Wisconsin, the fight over which made him a national figure and resulted in his being recalled -- an election he won handily.
    "Just like President Reagan, I believe we need to drain the swamp in Washington, D.C.," Walker said Monday. "I have a plan to check the power of the big-government union bosses, empower individuals and protect taxpayers."
    Walker's proposals include repealing the Obama administration's labor regulations, requiring union expenditure reporting, cracking down on government unions to prevent them from collecting dues from federal employees, and getting rid of the National Labor Relations Board.
    The plan also featured Walker's centerpiece issue of right-to-work legislation, which prevents union membership from being a condition of employment.
    "Our plan will eliminate the big government unions entirely and put the American people back in charge of their government," Walker said. "Federal employees should work for the taxpayers - not the other way around."
    Unions and labor groups are a powerful force in politics, in recent years mainly for Democrats, and they targeted firepower against Walker in Wisconsin. He prevailed in his efforts there, but whether the success could be repeated nationally is unclear.
    And Walker described his labor plan with the new anti-Washington language he's adopted in recent weeks, pledging it would "wreck havoc on Washington."
    "America needs a leader who's been tested," he said. "We can't afford another novice."
    The Associated Press was the first to report the details of Walker's plan.
    Democrats were quick to criticize Walker's proposals.
    Independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who's seeking the Democratic presidential nomination and has made wealth inequality a focal point of his campaign, said Walker's proposals would move us in the "wrong direction."
    "At a time when the rich are getting richer and everyone else is getting poorer, Gov. Walker's attack on the trade union movement would lower wages and the benefits that working people receive while making the wealthy and large corporations even richer," Sanders said in a statement. "If we are going to rebuild the crumbling middle class we need a stronger trade union movement, not a weaker one."
    Former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley responded to Walker's tweets about his plan, making similar criticisms.
    "No. This would hurt families across America. If we want wages to go up, we must make it easier to join unions -- not harder," O'Malley tweeted.