Wisconsin's Battle Continues Over Collective Bargaining

Friday, February 25, 2011

Protests continue in Madison, Wisconsin. (Eric Thayer/Getty)

Senate Democrats are still hiding out in Illinois in an effort to stall a vote on a budget proposal that would restrict collective bargaining among public workers in Wisconsin. Police officers were sent to the homes of the absent Senators to make the point that it’s time to come home. And as the standoff continues between the two sides, the issue seems to be becoming more and more politically divisive within the state.

Bill Lueders, news editor for Madison’s alternative weekly Isthmus says he worries that Wisconsin will be torn apart from the issue. But his colleague, David Blaska, who is the conservative blogger for Isthmus says the debate is going exactly the way it should be.

Guests:

David Blaska and Bill Lueders

Comments [6]

Danny Martinez

Its the state and federal unions that are screwing us not local unions.Our tax dollars dont pay your salary so your fine,its the state and federal unions who can simply ask for a raise and they get it but they are only out for themselves because they were protesting thier stupid rite of getting more money by screwing the people who pay them.They say they dont mind paying for there healthcare but if they get a raise whose paying for it we are.You guys set the mark for protesting to get fair labor laws we can do the same thing in Washington but it has to be everyone,I see it this way we know our govt is screwing us we elect them we can get rid of them as well everyone has to be willing to only by AMERICAN MADE PRODUCTS and BOYCOTT ALL IMPORTED GOODS AND GAS ONLY AMERICAN GAS.If we can get enough people to agree to put the country ahead of thier own needs we can do this.But theres one problem this calls for us to make voluntary sacrifices and a lot of them and Im affraid most Americans are just to worried about making it to work that day or they will buy the contaminated toys from China just to spoil there kids.Im dead serious here I am going to Washington to be heard for everyone who wont act or cant,whats the point of voting your just picking the next schemer to screw us.Taxpayers are getting the shaft and doing nothing about it but complain.Im going to act even if its alone and I know if you love this country you will act as well.

Mar. 08 2011 05:12 PM
Frank from Long Island City, NY

This idea: that union members who disagree with their unions don't have to pay dues, is ridiculous.

I'm a private sector teamster in New York. If this rule passed 90% of my co-workers would withhold dues and expect continued representation and collective bargaining. It would simply break any union.

I disagreed with George Bush yet I never withheld federal taxes.

Feb. 25 2011 10:44 AM
Charles

I am not sure what Supreme Court opinions "rsdavis from NJ" is reading, but the majority opinion written by Justice Anthony Kennedy in the case of Citizens Untied v. FEC applied equally to potect the association and speech rights of corporations AND labor unions.

In Wisconsin, in the 2010 election cycle, labor unions were among the biggest campaign donors statewide, and particularly in the gubernatorial race.

Feb. 25 2011 10:26 AM
Mike from Miami

I worked so far 11 years for the school system as an public employee. When originally hired our pay was 20% less than the private sector. That was OK because of benefits and job security. Over the past 11 years all the benefits were transferred to be paid by the employee. In addition we have not received a raise or cost of living increase in 4 years. I also took a $6000 pay cut to keep my job, with another pay cut coming soon. Right now I barely make 50% of what the private sector pays - but the private sector does not hire workers due to the economy. The only reason I am not living out in the street is, that I own my home. My paycheck would not be enough to rent an apartment in Miami and pay my bills for the bare essentials. At the same time I am responsible for additional duties I had to take over for 4 employees who have retired and whose positions have been eliminated. We only have 45% of the staff we had 11 years ago, but our services we provide have increased by 30%. So why do the Republicans and the tea party hate us public employees so much, for supposedly being over-payed and having too many benefits??? I think they should look past their ideology and look at the real picture. Their rants only apply to a few executives in the system, the rest of the workers are struggling to survive.

Feb. 25 2011 09:42 AM

As the Dems have so famously said, voting has consequences. Now we see people griping about a politician who is fulfilling his campaign statements. I've worked in government and my Dad taught for 34 years and my wife has taught for 17. Government workers make very good wages and have outrageously good benefits.

Feb. 25 2011 09:31 AM
rsdavis from nj

I find it more than ironic that the attempt to strip the right of collective bargaining (thereby eliminating unions as a political force) is occurring at the same time that the (Republican dominated) Supreme Court has ruled that corporations are entities with First Amendment rights, allowing them to use their wealth to influence the political process!

I guess that corporations are somehow more entitled to wield political influence than unions, or, to put it more succinctly, the wealthy are somehow more entitled than the middle class.

Feb. 25 2011 09:31 AM

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