Teachers and other state workers in Wisconsin are rallying at the State Capitol in Madison this week over a bill that would remove the unions' rights to collectively bargain over health care and pension benefits. The bill, proposed by newly-elected Republican Governor Scott Walker, would also mean a roughly eight percent wage cut for 176,000 government workers, who would have to pay more for health care and pension contributions. Republicans hold the majority in both the state's Senate and Assembly — but it is yet unclear whether Walker will be able to secure the vote. Wisconsin was the first state to write collective bargaining laws for state employees and is the birthplace of the national union for non-federal public employees.
Shawn Johnson, Wisconsin Public Radio's state capitol reporter joins us. He says that Republicans are caught between supporting their new governor and fear that their union-friendly constituents could call for recall elections in less than a year.