Thursday, March 10, 2011

Public Sector Unions Lose Collective Bargaining Rights

Madison – After some fancy footwork, the Wisconsin State Senate voted overwhelmingly to strip nearly all collective bargaining rights from public workers.

The vote was overwhelming, that is, amongst those Senators who were in attendance. Republicans found a way to bypass Democrats playing hooky in the Chicago area just over the state line by using the tactic of removing all money-spending aspects from Governor Scott Walker's budget repair bill, then passing it in the absence of a quorum.

“You are cowards!” the spectators in the gallery shouted, adding, “The whole world is watching!”

That line was often repeated for television news cameras during the height of violent clashes between Chicago police and anti-war protesters at the Democratic National Convention of 1968.

“In 30 minutes, 18 state Senators undid 50 years of civil reights in Wisconsin. Their disrespect for the people of Wisonsin and their rights in an outrage that will never be forgotten,” said Senate Minority Leader Mark Miller. “Tonight, 18 Senate Republicans conspired to take government away from the people.”

He told newsmen that the bill is a “done deal.” There is nothing Democrats can do now to stop the bill, since the State Assembly passed the entire bill – with spending provision intact - previously.

Following a committee meeting to approve the maneuver of stripping the money-spending provisions out of the bill, the entire Senate that was in attendance – some 18 Republican Senators - met and voted 18-1 within minutes – without discussion or debate – to pass the new law.

The lone Democrat in attendance, Democratic Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca, shouted that the meeting was in violation of the state's open meetings law.

“The jig is up,” Assemblyman Barca said. “The fraud on the people of Wisconsin is now clear.”

Governor Scott Walker said the Democrats had 3 weeks to discuss the bill, but refused to come back from their self-imposed exile to do so. Without passage of the budget-repair bill, he said, he would have been forced to lay off 1,500 state workers in order to curb a $3.6 billion budget deficit.

His campaign literature promised the budget repair measure will save taxpayers $700 million per year.

Opponents of his bill said the deficit was caused by deep tax cuts for the most wealthy people and their corporations.

Proponents said the new law is necessary to give local and state governments the flexibility needed to overcome union demands.

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