Monday, February 14, 2011

Unions in Wisconsin

This is from Firedoglake re the new Republican governor of Wisconsin:
(Governor) Walker and his conservative allies talked about this plan (to break public employee unions) almost immediately after the election, getting support from southern-state Governors with right-to-work laws in place and the American Legislative Exchange Council, which has stimulated discussion over this idea in several states since November. The bill would strip workers’ ability to bargain over everything but pay, and salary increases wouldn’t be allowed to increase more than inflation. Furthermore, public employees would have to pay more in health and pension costs, contracts would last only one year at a time, employees would have to re-certify the union annually and individual members would be able to withhold dues from their union. Such stripping of protections invariably leads to poor working conditions, as well as low wages and benefits. That’s why Walker put it into a budget bill.

And this is from the Huffington Post, quoting the Associated Press:
Gov. Scott Walker says the Wisconsin National Guard is prepared to respond wherever is necessary in the wake of his announcement that he wants to take away nearly all collective bargaining rights from state employees.

Walker said Friday that he hasn't called the Guard into action, but he has briefed them and other state agencies in preparation of any problems that could result in a disruption of state services, like staffing at prisons...

The right of private sector employees to be members of unions is governed by federal law, but state and local unions are covered by Wisconsin law. The right to collectively bargain over a broad array of issues, including salary and benefits, is granted under that law. Walker and the Legislature can add or remove negotiable issues by changing that law, the State Employment Labor Relations Act.

There's nothing stopping Walker from proposing a law change, said Paul Secunda, a Marquette University law professor who specializes in labor law.


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