Wisconsin Assembly passes Gov. Walker’s assault on collective bargaining

From the AFL-CIO blog:

BREAKING: Wis. Assembly Passes Walker’s Assault on Collective Bargaining, Good Jobs

by Donna Jablonski, Feb 25, 2011

Early Friday, the Wisconsin Assembly passed Gov. Scott Walker’s (R) bill taking from most public employees the right to bargain collectively for good jobs, according to numerous news sources.

The vote followed three days of debate and sends the bill to the state Senate. Fourteen Senate Democrats remain out of state, denying Republicans a quorum and blocking action in that chamber.

Tens of thousands of Wisconsin workers have packed the state capitol in Madison for days protesting Walker’s proposal, and have inspired solidarity rallies across Wisconsin and throughout the country.

Slate reports:

Democrats exploded as soon as the vote was called, yelling “Cowards!” and “Shame!” at the Republicans filing out of the room.

The bill moves to the Senate, which cannot take it up until and unless 14 missing Democrats return. In a short speech to protesters, Democratic Rep. Cory Mason joked that he was “never so happy that we have two chambers.”

From Talking Points Memo:

Afterwards, the Dems filed out into the rotunda, to cheers of “Thank you! Thank you!” from the protesters who have filled the halls of the Capitol for over a week. An interesting question has been whether the day and night Capitol building protests would end after this vote. But as I write this in the Capitol’s press room, it’s up in the air to me whether the protesters will even clear out at all. I can still hear them chanting and singing songs out in the halls — including at least one round of “Hell no, we won’t go!”

Keep in mind that this is not the end of the issue — far from it. The 14 state Senate Democrats remain in exile in Illinois, preventing the state Senate from having the three-fifths quorum required to take a vote on the budget. For now, Wisconsin has become ground zero in an unexpected but pitched battle over the political future of the labor movement and the question of whether the Tea Party-fueled GOP resurgence of 2010 will trigger a backlash all its own.

So yes, the fight is far from over.

Learn more about why Wisconsin matters, visit the action page to find out what you can do to stand in solidarity with working families in Wisconsin and mark your calendar for workers’ rights rallies in Albany, Cheektowaga, Rochester and Plattsburgh.

  • Albany: Saturday, Feb. 26 at noon at the State Capitol,west side steps (RSVP via Facebook)
  • Plattsburgh: Saturday, Feb 26 at noon at Plattsburgh City Hall, 41 City Hall Place.
  • Cheektowaga: A rally will start at 8:30 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 26 at the Leonard Post Jr. VFW Hall at 2451 Walden Ave.
  • Rochester: There is a rally at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 2 at City Hall in downtown Rochester.

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  1. LI Teacher February 25, 2011 at 7:49 am #

    I believe that NY Labor needs to schedule a rally which includes ALL union people in the state. Carpenters, Electricians, Plumbers, Laborers, etc as well as Railroad, Teachers, Firefighters and Police.

    I also feel a national ad campaign that stresses the fact the non-union workers make higher salaries and have better benefits in states which have a strong union presence. Actual money comparison is needed not percents.
    South Carolina comes to mind.

    Ads which put the historical aspect of the benefits unions have brought to workers in general should also be stressed. And the fact that busting unions will put labor into a backward spiral leading to lower wages and less (or no) benefits.
    An ad campaign that pushes for increased taxes on the rich should also use real money comparisons. Stating a person who now takes home 2 and a half million dollars a year would have to pay $100,000 more in taxes and still have 2.4 million dollars would have a lot more impact than saying the top 1% should pay more taxes.

    Put in real terms people can understand the “horrible added tax” would have virtually no impact on the well being of these individuals, but would have a huge impact on the well being of ordinary citizens.

    I have often tried to reason with younger colleagues about the need for a strong union and why they should contribute to VOTE COPE. Many felt that if you do a good job unions protections and tenure were nice to have but not necessary. I find that many who did not understand then are coming to the realization now that their professional future may not be as bright at they once thought.

    If NY holds a constitutional convention and takes away tenure and pension rights it will devastate many, if the not the majority, of hard working people.

    • Julie February 25, 2011 at 10:03 am #

      Every decision we make has implications, both positive and negative. When we choose careers in education, it is not so that we can make a lot of money. If you want to make a lot of money and that is your goal, then go work in business or choose another career path, but don’t resent those people from making what they make. I cannot stand this type of mentality.

  2. Don Carlisto February 25, 2011 at 8:29 am #

    Now, more than ever, “Join a union!” http://www.nysut.org/cps/rde/xchg/nysut/hs.xsl/ra_15096.htm
    Attend a rally on Saturday, 2/26.

  3. Julie February 25, 2011 at 10:04 am #

    I think the democrats are cowards for running away. They need to stay and do their job!!!!!!

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