Standoff continues in Wisconsin between Gov. Scott Walker, public employee unions
Wednesday, February 23, 2011; 5:03 PM
The showdown between Governor Scott Walker and the public employee unions continued Wednesday, and the stakes remained high, as Chris Cillizza reported:
The ongoing standoff between Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) and organized labor has obvious practical implications, the most obvious of which is whether the right of public-sector unions to collectively bargain will be maintained or eroded.
But, the symbolic import of the Wisconsin showdown is no less critical as it comes at a time when the labor movement nationally is struggling to maintain its once-dominant role in electoral politics.
Exit polling shows a troubling trend line for union influence on elections. In 2008, just 21 percent of the electorate said they had a union member in their household -- the lowest percentage in any presidential election dating back to 1972.
There are a few possible outcomes of the Wisconsin budget showdown, as Ezra Klein explained:
Mother Jones's Andy Kroll has been doing some great reporting from Wisconsin, and he runs through four of the possible endgames here. They are:
1) The bill passes.
2) The collective-bargaining ban gets dropped.
3) A weird procedural effort to repackage the bill as "non-financial," which would mean the Senate Democrats don't need to be present.
4) The collective-bargaining ban gets pushed to the 2011-13 budget fight, which will happen in the spring.
The problem with trying to game out Gov. Scott Walker's negotiating style is that the guy doesn't seem like much of a negotiator. Another politician would've taken the concrete concessions on pensions and health-care benefits, threatened to revisit the collective-bargaining ban in the spring if any of the unions failed to make the promised concessions and thrown himself a parade. But not Walker.