Wisconsin Senate Strips Public Employees of Collective Bargaining Rights

Thursday, March 10, 2011

The chairs of Wisconsin seante democrats sit empty during a session of the State Senate at the Wisconsin State Capitol on March 8, 2011 in Madison, Wisconsin. (Justin Sullivan/Getty)

In a surprise legislative maneuver that took around 30 minutes, 18 Republican members of Wisconsin's Senate pushed through adoption of a bill last night that would sharply reduce public employees' collective bargaining rights. Introduced by the state's new governor, Scott Walker, the legislation has roiled the state's capitol for weeks. Union supporters and other protesters occupied the state house while Governor Walker battled in the press with Democrats who had fled the state to prevent a vote from taking place. The move circumvented a required quorum by removing language on appropriating funding to allow the 18-1 vote. What's next in the three week saga? 

The measure will head to Wisconsin's state assembly later today, where it is expected to pass. In the meantime, we speak again to State Senator Bob Jauch, a Democrat, who says "the Wisconsin state legislature is acting like a third world country." Shawn Johnson, reporter for Wisconsin Public Radio has been following the story.


Bob Jauch and Shawn Johnson

Produced by:

Arwa Gunja

Comments [7]


Mr. Hockenberry's remark to the Democratic Wisconsin legislator that The Republicans had called "their bluff" was more worthy of a person like Rush Limbaugh. Is the Takeaway and PRI worried that those conservative republicans will get aftter all of you like they have to NPR. Your comment was not worthy of moderate journalism.

Mar. 10 2011 11:02 AM

The only problem I have with this is that the Republicans should have openly announced they would separate this out of the budget bill once they discovered the Dems had fled. They could well have argued that the Dems would now have no reason to hold up the budget and they could still have passed this resolution, all without giving the protesters time to gather momentum.

Still, the Republicans in the senate and Gov Walker had been more than reasonable in their attempts to bring the Dems home to have an open vote. Eventually the logjam had to break and this was a completely fair method to do so.

Mar. 10 2011 10:23 AM
Nick Bacon from UWS, New York City

When I moved here from the UK ten years ago, it didn't take me long to realize that in terms of social, welfare and employment legislation, this country was 40 years behind Europe.

Wisconsin is now 140 years behind.

Mar. 10 2011 09:40 AM

Interesting how last year a host of unsavory political procedures in the US Congress to push massive health care reform and lame duck bills passed costing billions was considered a ingenious political tactics. Now it is "thuggish" for Wisconsin Republicans to employ nimble procedures to save tax payer money in response to Democrats refusing to do their jobs while weeks of uncivil chaos ensued in the capitol by protesters.

Mar. 10 2011 09:24 AM
Tony BleedingHeart from Detroit

comparing this to the tactics used by democrats to pass health care legislation is pretty tenuous. they did not introduce a budget bill, then eliminate all budget aspects to leave the health care overhaul. they used a procedural tactic used by the republicans many times.

"jumping the shark" means a television show has finally had to resort to the most ludicrous of plot devices. in this situation it's meaningless.

Mar. 10 2011 09:15 AM

The hysterics and hypocrisy is amazing.
"The surge of protesters.....there were so many coming through the door that police gave up trying to stop them".
And duly elected Republicans doing the job they were elected to do which his bring fiscal sanity to the state are examples of thuggery and a banana republic? Give me a break.
Does the term "jump the shark" mean anything?

Mar. 10 2011 08:52 AM
Don from Detroit

Listen to all those protestors making nasty accusations! I guess lack of civility is only an issue when it is applied to the Tea Party and conservative groups, and civility gets thrown out the window when it's the unions' ox that is being gored (oops, I guess that was an uncivil metaphor).

Mar. 10 2011 08:07 AM

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