Wisconsin GOP jams through union-busting bill

Jeff Alworth

File this under "elections have consequences"--the bad kind. When a largely blue state votes in a Republican governor and legislature, bad s**t can happen:

Capping a dramatic turn of events, the Wisconsin state Senate on Wednesday night passed a new, stripped-down "budget repair bill" -- which now excludes all the fiscal elements of the original budget repair bill, and simply includes the original's provisions to roll back the collective bargaining and organizational rights of Wisconsin's public employee unions.

With all 14 Democrats absent, having fled the state weeks ago in order to block the three-fifths budget quorum, the bill passed by an 18-1 margin, with only moderate Republican Dale Schultz voting no.

Those of you who have been subjected to my chest-thumping for the Badgers and Packers know I lived in Madison while going to grad school. I actually worked for the state at the time. All of this leaves me a little shell-shocked--and mighty pissed. This is a nakedly partisan effort to crush the ability of working people to protect their salaries, benefits, and working conditions. The very act of stripping the fiscal elements out of the bill exposes the act for what it is: union-busting, and nothing more. It also exposes the governor as a liar who was from the start negotiating in bad faith.

We may take some solace in the fact that this isn't a buzzer-beater, it's only the end of the first quarter. With recall efforts underway, the people of Wisconsin have some cards left to play. To our brothers and sisters in Wisconsin, we send our best.

For those of you who want to turn your outrage into action, here's a link to ActBlue's recall effort.

Update. The Wisconsin State Journal reports that it's pandemonium in Madison:

Thousands of protesters rushed to the state Capitol on Wednesday night as word spread of the hastily called votes that sent Gov. Scott Walker's controversial bill limiting collective bargaining rights for public workers speeding through the Legislature.

Shortly after 8 p.m., hundreds of protesters gathered outside the locked King Street entrance to the Capitol, chanting "Break down the door!" and "General strike!"

Moments later, police ceded control of the State Street doors and allowed the crowd to surge inside. The area outside the Assembly, which is scheduled to take the bill up at 11 a.m. Thursday, was jammed with protesters who chanted, "We're not leaving. Not this time."

Comments

  • (Show?)

    Why did a "largely blue state vote(s) in a Republican governor and legislature?"

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        Yah, that was the problem. We didn't get our liberal pony. Your condescension for liberals who disapprove of Obama is so irritating.

        What do you have to say about Gitmo remaining open and Obama restarting military tribunals down there? Do liberals get to be upset about that or are we just still those naive fools who refuse to live in the real world?

        • (Show?)

          Being upset is one thing--you should always make your voice known to your elected officials and push them to fulfill their promises and move the country in the direction you wish.

          On the other hand, you also have to stay engaged by working on and voting in elections that follow. Mitch has a point---some voters, out of annoyance with Obama's lack of action on Gitmo and other issues, chose to sit out the past election and basically cut their noses off to spite their faces. Wisconsin is just one example of what happens when people don't vote.

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    If the bill stood on its own, dirty tricks wouldn't have been necessary. Whata buncha garbage!

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      That they rammed this through as a stand-alone which didn't have to meet the quorum threshold for budgetary matters, kinda gives proof to the lie from Walker and the GOP that the union busting provision was about the budget.

      Some are pointing out this move actually violates Wisconsin's Open Meeting laws.

      Wonder if that will be taken up and an emergency injunction on this atrocity is put in place by the courts.

  • (Show?)

    I hope that in Wisconsin justice is swiftly restored through the legal process. My understanding is that is an avenue worth pursuing alongside the recall.

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    One Republican Senator, Dale Schultz of Wisconsin's 17th, voted against the bill and released a statement.

    His comment that "I voted my conscience which I feel reflects the core beliefs of the majority of voters who sent me here to represent them," makes me wonder if he's truly cognizant of his constituency or seeking singular distinction enough to hope for political favor.

    No matter the truth or speculation, to be the lone no on an 18-1 vote is notable.

  • (Show?)

    Corporate America propaganda sows fear and division. The results are people like the Koch's Gauleiter Walker. There is also the Gov. of Michigan who wants to be able to impose gauleiters onto towns and cities he deems to be in financial straits. Dr. Strangelove would be having orgasms if he were real.

  • (Show?)

    A quick check elsewhere online shows that President Obama has personally intervened on behalf of Governor Scott Walker and the other ultra-right wing forces. This was in response to the DNC beginning to mobilize a response. Was it not enough of a clue when he picked walking corpse Alan Simpson to chair the Catfood Commission?

    The answer for those pondering who is the Republican candidate for President in 2012 should by now be obvious. It is Barack H. Obama who will run as a democrat and get millions of right wing supporters.

    Grover Norquist and Greg Walden are verry happy people this morning. Too bad for the progressives in this country who pondered if Obama was playing chess or checkers. He was obviously playing for keeps and will succeed in repealing the rest of the twentieth century.

    • (Show?)

      Marvin, WTF are you talking about?! The opposite is true. Don't take our word for it, here John Boehner's statement:

      “According to news reports, the White House has even unleashed the Democratic National Committee to spread disinformation and confusion in Wisconsin regarding the governor’s courageous actions.  I urge the president to order the DNC to suspend these tactics.  This is not the way you begin an ‘adult conversation’ in America about solutions to the fiscal challenges that are destroying jobs in our country.

      Please provide a linked source for your assertions.

      • (Show?)

        Kari - I'm afraid that on this one Marvin is correct, at least according to the New York Times. An article last week on recent White House staff changes noted the following:

        "Similarly, the White House mostly has sought to stay out of the fray in Madison, Wis., and other state capitals where Republican governors are battling public employee unions and Democratic lawmakers over collective bargaining rights. When West Wing officials discovered that the Democratic National Committee had mobilized Mr. Obama’s national network to support the protests, they angrily reined in the staff at the party headquarters."

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          Sorry, no.

          "Stay out of the fray" is a far cry from what Marvin asserted: "President Obama has personally intervened on behalf of Governor Scott Walker and the other ultra-right wing forces."

          President Obama has NOT intervened no behalf of Scott Walker. Rather, he's chosen (wrongly, I believe) to utilize his resources on other things.

  • (Show?)

    The call for a general strike isn't a bad idea. If every public employee in Wisconsin went on strike for a month, the Teabaggers and their ilk might realize that, yes, government is necessary.

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      It looks like workers didn't strike today--which I think is the right call. At this point, managing public opinion is more important than direct action (which, though satisfying, can't actually change events). The Dems have the high road, and need to play the long game in order to undo the damage and recall these abysmal legislators.

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    Found on the Democratic Undergrond the NYT link does not transfer to this page. The story is from March 3. That is WTF I am talking about, Kari. Jeez.

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    In case you missed it, this March 3 NYTs story about Obama's new "no drama" staff reveals a lot about why we don't see the president donning his "comfortable shoes" and "walking the picket line" with American workers fighting the corporate coups in Wisconsin, Michigan and Florida. Turns out, the DNC was out in front of the struggles with staff in place to mobilize a national network for protest, BUT THEY WERE RECALLED at the behest of Obama's new "no drama" staffers. Seems that the fight of our lives is "too much drama" for this administration -- they're busy "winning the future," so don't expect any last minute support our party at any level because the leaders of the party don't have time for "distractions."

    • (Show?)

      Thanks for proving my point upthread about "the left" being their own worst enemy.

      That you tie yourself into knots to make this about President Obama and your contrived "stabbed in the back" narrative is truly amazing.

      • (Show?)

        Mitchell, You seem to claim that the right is winning victory after victory in spite of Obama. Based on what evidence? What if they're doing so well because he's ok with it? How would Obama be different from president Romney? Are there going to be, in spite of empirical evidence, Obama dead-enders?

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    Hopefully this event will be a shock to the Naderites like our spammer above, and to the complacent who take the right to unionize for granted, and for every member of the middle class who sees their incomes eroding or disappearing. The GOP clearly has an agenda of a low wage serf economy for the American worker, public and private, so that corporations can maximize their profits and minimize their share of the tax burden.

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      Us "Naderites" are the only thing keeping the Democratic Party from selling what little of their soul they have left and becoming GOP-lite.

      How many more little cuts from Corporatist Democrats will we have to suffer before all the liberal blood has been drained from the body?

      • (Show?)

        While I always appreciate the generally thoughtful comments on Blue Oregon, it would be refreshing to see people take some of the energy used posting here and get out on the streets to make their voices heard. Students in Wisconsin are walking out tomorrow afternoon and calling for solidarity across the country. Show support for students from PSU and other schools who are walking out at 2 pm tomorrow, by joining them at 2:30 in Pioneer Courthouse Square to rally in solidarity with those in Wisconsin who have been fighting this fight for all of us.
        Then go back to work and resume blogging about it!

  • (Show?)

    Bill Ryan condescends upon a poster having referenced the NY Times as being a "spammer". Disgusting.

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    Being referenced in negative terms does not offend me. It adds to my appreciation of Mr. Ryan to know that he thinks of me as a Naderite although I have never voted for or suppported him; the Consortium News Service completed the count for the 2000 election and found that Nader voters did not cost Gore the election. In fact he won.

    Focus on what matters today. Will President Obama do what John Boehner wants and Privatize Social Security? If he does who will admit that supporting him has been a major error. Who will stand against Supply Side Economics. I do.

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