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Senate approves bill to strip public employees of collective bargaining

March 10, 2011 Comments off

seattletimes

 Wisconsin Senate GOP bypass Democrats to cut union rights

 

Wisconsin Senate Republicans used a surprise legislative maneuver to pass a bill that would strip collective-bargaining rights from most public-sector workers — a move accomplished without the 14 Democratic senators who had fled the state to stall the measure.

Republicans voted 18-1 Wednesday night to pass nonfiscal provisions of the budget-repair bill — including those that would eliminate or severely limit collective-bargaining rights for most public employees.

Republicans control the Senate but had been blocked from voting on the issue after Democrats left the state Feb. 17 to prevent a quorum. Instead, Republicans used a procedural maneuver to force the collective-bargaining measure through: They removed elements of Gov. Scott Walker’s bill that technically were related to appropriating funds, thus removing a requirement that 20 senators be present for a vote.

In the end, the Senate’s 19 Republicans approved the measure without any debate on the floor or a single Democrat in the room.

Walker issued a statement praising the action: “The Senate Democrats have had three weeks to debate this bill and were offered repeated opportunities to come home, which they refused.”

The fight over the legislation has drawn national attention, with unions calling it an attack on all organized labor and some GOP lawmakers and governors calling it a necessary step to control state spending.

“You are cowards!” spectators in the Senate gallery screamed as lawmakers voted. Within hours, a crowd of a few hundred protesters had grown to thousands outside the state Capitol in Madison.

“The whole world is watching!” they shouted as Read more…