Wis. gov. says he won't accept union compromise

Tea Party supporters and union supports show their respective sign during a large demonstration at the State Capitol in Madison, Wis., Saturday, Feb. 19, 2011. A few dozen police officers stood between supporters of Republican Gov. Scott Walker on the muddy east lawn of the Capitol and the much larger group of pro-labor demonstrators who surrounded them. The protest was peaceful as both sides exchanged chants of "Pass the bill! Pass the bill!" and "Kill the bill! Kill the bill!" The Wisconsin governor, elected in November's GOP wave that also gave control of the state Assembly and Senate to Republicans, set off the protests earlier this week by pushing ahead with a measure that would require government workers to contribute more to their health care and pension costs and largely eliminate their collective bargaining rights. (AP Photo/Andy Manis)

February 21, 2011 4:06:01 PM PST
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker again rejected a proposed compromise Monday to end a political stalemate over collective bargaining rights that led to 14 Senate Democrats skipping town and motivated tens of thousands of people to march on the Capitol in protest for more than a week.

Walker said Monday afternoon he wasn't interested in compromises that have been floated by public employee unions and even a Republican state senator. He spoke inside his heavily guarded conference room in the Capitol as thousands of people screamed and stomped outside his office to "Recall Walker!"

Walker reiterated his longstanding position that his proposal is about balancing Wisconsin's budget and not busting the unions. He called one of the proposed compromises a "non-starter."

"For those 14 Senate Democrats, you've had your time," Walker said. "Now it's time to come home."

With no resolution imminent, Senate Republicans were resigned Monday to forge ahead with less-controversial business such as tax breaks for dairy farmers and commending the Green Bay Packers on winning the Super Bowl.

As the standoff entered its second week, none of the major players offered any signs of backing down in a high-stakes game of political chicken that has riveted the nation and led to ongoing public protests that drew a high of 68,000 people on Saturday. Thousands more braved cold winds and temperatures in the 20s to march again on Monday, waving signs that said "Stop the attack on Wisconsin families" and "solidarity."