Senate Democrats in Wisconsin have gone on hiatus in Illinois in an effort to block badly needed legislation that will rein in extortion, bribery, and coercion by public unions.
A vote expected today has not taken place and Democrats vow to say away as long as it take, effectively shutting down government in Wisconsin. Schools in Madison and Milwaukee are closed because mass numbers of teachers calling in sick.
Please consider Vote on Wisconsin union bill faces more delays
A controversial bill that would end a half-century of collective bargaining for most public workers in Wisconsin was again in limbo on Friday. State Senate Democrats said they would stay away for days or even weeks, while Republican efforts to pass the bill in the state Assembly also faced an obstacle.
The 14 state Senate Democrats were meeting Friday in Illinois, and had no timetable for returning, Sen. Jon Erpenbach said at midday.
State Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald had earlier asked Gov. Scott Walker, a fellow Republican, to send two state troopers to the home of Mark Miller, the top state Senate Democrat, and other holdouts.
Republicans have 57 seats in the Assembly but 58 lawmakers must be present in order for them to take up the bill that all 38 Democrats are united against.
Rep. Bob Ziegelbauer is the Assembly’s lone independent and could be that 58th person Republicans need. Ziegelbauer said that he wants to meet with Republican leaders to discuss a possible compromise.
Opponents of the bill packed the Assembly gallery as Democratic lawmakers introduced protesters from their districts and thanked them for their efforts. The crowd applauded and waved their hands silently.
Several hundred protesters were in the building early in the morning, with the ranks expected to swell as the day progressed. Many of them spent the night in the Capitol and another large rally was planned around noon.
As many as 25,000 students, teachers and prison guards have turned out at the Capitol this week to protest, standing shoulder-to-shoulder in the building’s hallways, sitting cross-legged across the floor and making it difficult to move from room to room. Some have brought along sleeping bags and stayed through the night. Union organizers expected yet more to gather Friday.
Students have become unwitting pawns for the teachers’ unions. Reforms proposed by Walker will help rein in costs, including the cost of education.
Unfortunately these students cannot think.
Neil Graupner, a 19-year-old technical college student from Madison, said he was planning to stay until the matter is settled.
“The fact that the Democrats have walked out, it shows they’re listening to us,” he said late Thursday as he prepared to spend the night at the Capitol.
There is nothing like complete fools needing lower costs of education then directly begging for higher costs.
Wisconsin is gathering a lot of attention but badly needed public union reform is happening in other states as well.
Unions Under Fire in Wisconsin, Ohio, Tennessee, New Jersey
CNN Money reports Unions under fire as states try to curtail benefits
Lots of state officials are pressing public employees to shoulder more of their health care and pension costs.
But in some places — notably Wisconsin and Ohio — officials are looking to go one step farther. Governors and lawmakers there are trying to limit or end public workers’ collective bargaining ability, effectively neutering the unions.
Both states are seeking the flexibility to change employee benefits, and they’re not alone.
Health care and pension costs are soaring, making it even harder for public officials nationwide to close massive budget gaps. Forty-four states and Washington, D.C. are facing a total shortfall of $125 billion for fiscal 2012, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
In many places, public officials have little leverage to lower these costs because they are set in union contracts. If benefits were removed from the collective bargaining process, states and localities could change them without having to negotiate with the unions, a process that can drag on for months or even years.
State officials have long floated so-called right-to-work proposals that would curtail or eliminate union power. But this year, they are getting more traction because Republicans — who are generally not big fans of unions — have gained control of more state capitols and governor’s mansions.
For instance, a bill that would end collective bargaining for teachers is currently working its way through the legislature in Tennessee, where Republicans captured the governor’s office and took a commanding lead in the house.
And in Indiana, which banned collective bargaining on the state level in 2005, lawmakers are considering a bill to curtail the power of teachers’ unions, which are at the local level.
Gov. Walker’s controversial proposal
Even more controversial, Walker is looking to limit collective bargaining for most public employees to wages only. Local law enforcement and fire employees, as well as state troopers and inspectors would be exempt.
That means health care and pension contributions would no longer be subject to contract negotiations, giving state officials greater freedom to raise them.
It’s a start. Public unions have gotten so greedy and so out of control the only thing that makes any sense is totally eliminate them.
Harold Meyerson, a seriously misguided columnist at the Washington Post compared the rally in Madison to the happenings in Egypt.
The continual riots by ungrateful overpaid union workers in Greece is a far better comparison to the events in Madison recent rallies in Egypt.
Please see 40% of Madison Teachers call in Sick, Schools Shut; Video of Massive Protest in Wisconsin Capitol Building; If Jackasses Could Think for some examples. Here is a small snip.
Meyerson’s comparison to Egypt is 180 degrees reversed. Those Madison protesters were not fighting for democracy but rather to preserve a system of collective extortion.
Unions threaten, bully and bribe their way into power and want more every step of the way.
At a minimum, please play at least the first two of these videos, preferably all of them.
Give Up the Bucks
SEIU Spokesperson Threatening California Lawmakers with Union Retaliation
That is a small snip from the preceding post. I invite you to play those videos and the other in the preceding link to show you just how how much coercion, extortion, an threats unions use to get their ways.
Message From FDR
Inquiring minds are reading snips from a Letter from FDR Regarding Collective Bargaining of Public Unions written August 16, 1937.
All Government employees should realize that the process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service. It has its distinct and insurmountable limitations when applied to public personnel management.
The very nature and purposes of Government make it impossible for administrative officials to represent fully or to bind the employer in mutual discussions with Government employee organizations.
Particularly, I want to emphasize my conviction that militant tactics have no place in the functions of any organization of Government employees.
A strike of public employees manifests nothing less than an intent on their part to prevent or obstruct the operations of Government until their demands are satisfied. Such action, looking toward the paralysis of Government by those who have sworn to support it, is unthinkable and intolerable.
It is time to shut down pubic unions, totally, completely, and permanently. The actions in Wisconsin, Ohio, Tennessee, and New Jersey are but a small step in the right direction.
In the meantime, and likely every step of the way, we have to listen to misguided union sympathizers compare bribery, coercion, and extortion by public unions to democratic uprisings in Egypt. Worse yet, taxpayer dollars fund those messages as various unions are now flooding the airwaves and billboards with propaganda praising their blatant taxpayer extortion.
Mike “Mish” Shedlock
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