Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker won his drive to strip the state’s government workers of nearly all of their collective-bargaining rights Thursday, after a three-week standoff that brought tens of thousands of protesters to the Capitol. The state Assembly passed Walker’s proposal a day after Republican senators outmaneuvered the 14 Democratic senators who had fled Wisconsin to deny a quorum needed for passing a budget measure. By stripping the bill of its spending language, they were able to pass it with only Republicans present.
Opinion:Right Turn: Sen. Ron Johnson denounces ‘mob rule’
The Wisconsin State Assembly approved a bill Thursday that would slash union rights for public workers. The vote comes a day after the state Senate used a legislative maneuver to pass the bill without the 14 Democratic senators who fled the state in an effort to block it.
Opinion: Dionne: What Wisconsin Democrats can teach Washington Democrats
GOP imposes $100 fines on AWOL Wisconsin Senate Democrats
Republicans in the Wisconsin Senate have voted to fine the chamber’s AWOL Democrats $100 for each day they miss of the legislative session. Wednesday’s vote comes nearly three weeks after the Senate’s 14 Democrats fled the state to block a vote on legislation that would strip most public workers of their collective bargaining rights. Republican Gov. Scott Walker says the GOP remains committed to the bill.
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has offered to keep certain collective bargaining rights in place for state workers in a proposed compromise aimed at ending a nearly three-week standoff with absent Senate Democrats, according to e-mails released Tuesday by his office. The e-mails, some dated as recently as Sunday, show a softened stance in Walker’s talks with the 14 Democrats who fled to Illinois to block a vote on his original proposal that would strip nearly all collective bargaining rights for public workers and force concessions amounting to an average 8 percent pay cut.
The State Senate Democrats who left Wisconsin to block a vote on a bill that would severely curb collective bargaining for most public employees are planning to return soon, one of the lawmakers said. State Sen. Robert Jauch said the 14 Democrats are convinced that passing the measure would severely damage their Republican opponents.
About 700 people rallied Sunday in support of Republican Gov. Scott Walker and his anti-union plan to balance the budget - a demonstration meant to counter three weeks of large anti-Walker protests in and around the state Capitol.
Gov. Walker sent letters to state employee unions saying that layoff notices would go out to state employees in 15 days. The governor also said that actual layoffs would occur a month from now if legislators do not pass his “budget repair” proposal.
Midwest union battles highlight debate over improving schools
The Republican faceoff with labor unions in the Midwest and elsewhere marks not just a fight over money and collective bargaining, but also a test of wills over how to improve the nation’s schools. GOP governors are pushing to limit teacher bargaining rights, dismantle teacher tenure and channel public money toward private schools. All are direct challenges to the teachers unions and their mostly Democratic political allies in Congress and in statehouses across the nation.
Opinion: Dionne: No glory for governors trying to do the right fiscal thing
Ohio bill weakens public employee union negotiating rights
The Ohio Senate approved a bill that would weaken the powers of public workers unions to negotiate their contracts. The vote came as union supporters protested the measure for a second day on the grounds of the state capitol in Columbus.
Opinion:The Plum Line: Wisconsin Dems throw their weight behind drive to recall GOP Senators
Protests grow in Ohio as vote on union rights nears
Thousands of union supporters descended on the Ohio Statehouse on Tuesday to protest a proposal that would dramatically curtail bargaining powers of government workers, as the state becomes the latest flash point in the fight over union rights.
A state-by-state look at budget shortfalls, pensions liabilities, and proposed spending cuts. A screen grab is below; click on the link above to view the interactive version.
Government workers vs. taxpayers
The divide between government worker unions and their opponents, playing out now in several state capitals, highlights a critical aspect of the evolving labor movement. Throughout U.S. history, the most prominent union clashes largely involved employees squaring off against big corporate owners over how to share profits. The recent state budget controversies feature union members bargaining against state and local governments over wages and benefits provided by taxpayers.
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) defended his position on curtailing collective bargaining rights for public employees during an appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday.
Asked about exemptions for police officers and firefighters, Walker argued that “this is not a value judgment about employees, but it is ultimately about preserving public safety.” Walker stood by his remark that “this is our moment in Wisconsin’s history,” saying,” I make no apology for the fact that this is an important moment in time.” Asked about how the standoff may end, Walker described himself as “an eternal optimist” and predicted that “at least some” of the state senators who have fled the state will return. He cautioned, though, that if the bill fails to pass by Tuesday, the state will lose $155 million in savings, and “if we continue down that path, we start seeing layoffs.”
Walker also said he had rejected the idea of planting troublemakers into the crowd of protesters. “The bottom line is we rejected that because we have had a civil discourse,” he said.
As state leaders gather in Washington for an annual gathering of the National Governors Association, protests continue in Wisconsin, Ohio and elsewhere over state government spending cuts and collective-bargaining rights.
The Wisconsin Assembly passed a bill that would strip most public workers of their collective bargaining rights--the first significant action on the new Republican governor’s plan. The vote put an end to three straight days of punishing debate, but the political standoff over the bill is far from over. In Washington, Democratic governors gathered for a national conference assailed Republican Wisconsin governor Scott Walker.
Wisconsin Assembly reaches deal; state troopers sent to missing senators’ homes
Republicans and Democrats in the Wisconsin Assembly agreed to a deal shortly before dawn on Thursday morning that sets the stage for a vote on a controversial bill taking away collective bargaining rights for public workers. Wisconsin state troopers were dispatched to the homes of the missing Democratic senators in an attempt to pressure them to return to break an impasse on a budget bill.
Analysis: Wisconsin governor urging others to take stands against unions
Opinion: The Fix: For Walker, cause and celebrity don’t necessarily mean cause celebre
News: 44: The blogger behind the Scott Walker prank call
As the standoff continued in Wisconsin and union leaders began organizing for nationwide protests in every state capital on Saturday, the Internet was abuzz Wednesday with rumors (later confirmed) that Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker got pranked by a caller claiming to be David Koch. In the call, Walker reveals that he and other Republicans are looking at whether they can charge an “ethics code violation if not an outright felony” if unions are paying for food or lodging for any of the Democratic state senators. He also says he’s sending out notices next week to some 5,000 to 6,000 state workers letting them know that they are “at risk” of layoffs.
Opinion:Meyerson: Wisconsin is only part of the GOP war against unions
Opinion: The Fix: Why Wisconsin matters so much to labor
Opinion: Stromberg: Wisconsin governor’s -- and the GOP’s -- strange ‘budget discipline’
Democrats in Indiana took a page from the playbook of their counterparts in Wisconsin on Tuesday, refusing to show up and at least temporarily blocking a Republican-backed labor bill. In Ohio, protesters descended on the state capitol in Columbus in opposition to a bill put forward by GOP lawmakers that would restrict collective bargaining rights for public employees. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie ratcheted up the pressure on state employees by linking relief from property taxes to sharp increases in what government workers pay for health insurance.
Wisconsin protests continue; counter-demonstrators support governor’s bill
Some of the largest crowds yet descended upon Wisconsin’s state capitol to march, chant and shout about Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s controversial proposal to trim benefits and curtail collective-bargaining rights for many of the state’s unionized workers. The overwhelming majority of protesters were teachers, students and other public-service workers who spent the better part of a week demonstrating against Walker’s bill. But Saturday’s throngs included a sizable and vocal collection of tea party activists who arrived to show support for the embattled governor.
Opinion:Klein: How long can Scott Walker hold out?
Analysis: Balz: In Wisconsin and Washington, budget battles could reshape political landscape
Obama joins Wisconsin’s budget battle, opposing Republican anti-union bill
As the Wisconsin protests swelled to 25,000, President Obama thrust himself and his political operation this week into Wisconsin’s broiling budget battle, mobilizing opposition Thursday to a Republican bill that would curb public-worker benefits and planning similar protests in other state capitals. Obama accused Scott Walker, the state’s new Republican governor, of unleashing an “assault” on unions in pushing emergency legislation that would change future collective-bargaining agreements that affect most public employees, including teachers.
Thousands protest Gov. Scott Walker’s anti-union bill in Wisconsin
Teachers, students and prison guards descended on the Wisconsin Capitol on Wednesday to fight a move to strip government workers of union rights in the first state to grant them more than a half-century ago, but Republican leaders said the changes they sought would not be made. The Statehouse filled with as many as 10,000 demonstrators who chanted, sang the national anthem and beat drums for hours in demonstrations unlike any seen in Madison in decades. The noise in the rotunda rose to the level of a chainsaw, and many Madison teachers joined the protest by calling in sick in such numbers that the district -- the state’s second-largest -- had to cancel classes.