Union loss in Wisconsin
POSTED: Thursday, March 10, 2011 - 9:38pm
UPDATED: Friday, March 11, 2011 - 11:50am
The drama in Wisconsin is over.
Republicans used a parliamentary maneuver to counter the Democrats parliamentary maneuver and eliminated collective bargaining for public employee unions.
So what happens next?
You can’t filibuster in the Wisconsin Legislature, so Democrats have been denying Republicans a quorum by simply staying away.
So last night, Republicans figured out a way around that, and union members are worried that the dominoes may start falling.
Republicans decided that if the bill to kill collective bargaining was separated from the budget bill, they didn’t need the missing Democrats.
Governor Scott Walker has tied the issue of collective bargaining to the state’s looming budget deficit.
“I share the frustration of people I’ve heard from all across the state. Who understand the fiscal challenges we face. Who understand the budget challenges even more clearly,” he said.
But some, like the Texas State Teacher’s Association see this as simply union busting.
“What we have here is basically, yeah, take it out on the unions. Blame the unions. But don’t blame us. Don’t blame the people who are really trying to destroys government,” says Clay Robison of the TSTA. “We’re about the only advocate left for the middle class. I mean the unions…people try to paint the unions as villains, well, we’re not the villains. We didn’t cause the financial meltdown.”
And despite the fact that public opinion polls show the public sides with the union, the worry among union members is that Wisconsin is the first domino.
Similar anti-union bills are being considered in Ohio, Indiana and Tennessee.
And there are political considerations. Public sector unions are among the largest supporters of the Democratic party.
But with Republican controlling more statehouses this year, more votes on collective bargaining are inevitable.
Texas is unique, by the way.
Teachers cannot collectively bargain, but in many cities, other public employees can. That decision is made not by legislators or city councils.
It is decided by the voters.