Efforts by state governments to balance their budgets – especially in Midwestern states such as Wisconsin – are generating considerable media attention. That coverage escalated when a liberal blogger – who fraudulently said he was David Koch – called Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and then broadcast a recording of their conversation.
There is considerable misinformation in media reports, but here are some essential facts:
- Koch companies, including Georgia-Pacific, Flint Hills Resources, C. Reiss Coal Company, and Koch Pipeline Company, employ about 3,000 people in Wisconsin and support a total of 11,000 Wisconsin jobs.
- Koch companies were not and are not involved in lobbying for any part of Governor Walker’s budget repair bill, which makes changes to collective bargaining for public employees. Any suggestion that Koch Industries or a Koch company has some financial interest in the outcome of that legislation is false. We have taken no position on that state’s debate over public sector unions and do not intend to do so.
- Koch Industries’ Political Action Committee, KOCHPAC, contributed $43,000 to Gov. Scott Walker’s 2010 gubernatorial campaign – less than one-half of one percent of the $9.195 million raised by the Walker campaign.
- Koch has always and will continue to support market-based policies that advance economic freedom, and we support candidates who do the same. This was the basis for Koch’s support of Gov. Walker’s candidacy.
- Rumors that Koch supported Gov. Walker in order to purchase state power plants without competing bids are patently false. Koch has absolutely no interest in purchasing those plants.
- Since the initial speculation, Koch has been on the record denying any interest in the plants. It is notable that this 2013 news article about the potential sale of the state property, including the power plants, does not contain any mention of Koch.
We do believe that sound fiscal policy is a worthy goal for legislators to pursue. A balanced budget will benefit our company and its employees no more and no less than the rest of the state’s private-sector workers and employers.
Regarding unions in general:
- Koch companies support voluntary associations, and where they so choose, we recognize employees’ rights to be represented and bargain collectively.
- Union employees represent a large part of our production employees. Nationwide, many Koch company sites operate under collective bargaining agreements.
- Where unions exist, we respect their status, work with them in good faith, and honor the terms of our collective bargaining agreements. This has been true for more than 50 years.
- We think the best workplace relationships are fostered when the employer works directly with its employees. It is a mischaracterization of our principles to say this means we oppose unions or want to dismantle all unions.