Sunday, February 20, 2011

Wisconsin Gov. Walker Aims To Destroy Public Workers Unions

Wisconsin Budget Repair Bill Protest from Matt Wisniewski on Vimeo.

Kudos to the 14 Wisconsin Democratic senators who went into hiding rather than complete a quorum enabling Gov. Scott Walker and the Republicans to pass legislation eviscerating public workers' collective bargaining rights. Walker's aims have nothing to do with reaching a fiscal compromise with the unions and everything to do with destroying them. Unions, along with corporations, are among the beneficiaries of the Supreme Court's misguided Citizens United decision rejecting political spending limits. Once unions are dealt a death blow, only corporations will be left to spend millions–on Republican campaigns. Other states are looking at Wisconsin as the test case for union busting:

Governor Walker, in an interview, said he hoped that by “pushing the envelope” and setting an aggressive example, Wisconsin might inspire more states to curb the power of unions. “In that regard, I hope I’m inspiration just as much as others are an inspiration to me,” he said.

...As Gerald W. McEntee, the president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the main union of state employees, put it: “Workers’ rights — including the fundamental right to organize and bargain for better pay, benefits and working conditions — are under attack in states from Maine to Ohio, from Wisconsin to Florida.”

Governor Walker’s plan would limit collective bargaining for most state and local government employees to wages, barring them from negotiating on issues like benefits and work conditions. It would also require workers to contribute more to their pension and health care plans, cap wage increases based on the Consumer Price Index and limit contracts to one year. And it would take on the power of unions by requiring them to take annual votes to maintain certification, and by permitting workers to stop paying union dues...

“If they succeed in Wisconsin, the birthplace of A.F.S.C.M.E., they will be emboldened to attack workers’ rights in every state,” Mr. McEntee said. “Instead of trying to work with public employees at the bargaining table, they’ve decided to throw away the table.”

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