The fight over Republican Governor Scott Walker's Union-busting bill may have just begun. Here's a run-down on the unfolding events.
February 21, 2011- The drama unfolding in Wisconsin enters its second week, and as tens of thousands of workers and their supporters ring the state's capitol expressing outrage over Union-busting Republican Governor Scott Walker's bill, the impasse doesn't appear to be headed towards a resolution anytime soon. AlterNet has stayed on top of this momentous story, and here are the latest developments.
All of the focus this week has been on Scott Walker's antipathy towards labor. But at Mother Jones, Andy Kroll reports, "Walker has a history of striking hard-line positions, and nowhere is that more true than on the most controversial social issue of them all: abortion."
Walker's nearly nine-year record in the Wisconsin Assembly, the legislature's lower house, reads like a pro-life handbook, an all-out assault on abortion rights. What's more, the many anti-abortion initiatives he backed are perfectly in sync with the assault on reproductive rights now unfolding on the national level, where House Republicans recently gutted fundingfor Planned Parenthood and controversially tried to redefine "rape" to limit the long-standing exceptions to the Hyde Amendment, which bans federal funding for abortions except in cases of rape, incest, or to save a mother's life.
Last Friday, Walker told a Milwaukee radio station that his state's public employees right to bargain collectively would be "fully intact" under his proposal. It took some nerve to make the claim, prompting the Journal-Sentinel's fact-checkers to rate Walker's claim as a "pants on fire" falsehood.
Many state, local government and public school employees — including those represented by the largest state workers union — have said they would be willing to pay more for pensions and health insurance, as called for in a budget-repair bill introduced by Walker.
But the workers continue to protest provisions in the bill that would restrict most public employee unions to bargaining only over wages, and then only within caps.
It’s the central issue in the protests, which have drawn national attention.
Walker has announced that he will address Wisconsinites in a "fireside chat," at 6pm on Tuesday evening.
Folks in the Badger State sure love their Packers, and several have come out in support of the protesters. Sports writer Philip Bondy:
Last week, seven current and former Packers – Brady Poppinga, Jason Spitz, Curtis Fuller, Chris Jacke, Charles Jordan, Bob Long and Steve Okoniewski – also expressed support for the public employees. Maybe that doesn't sound like a revolution, but among athletes this is a considerable step forward in understanding that community extends beyond the goal line. We've learned long ago that stars such as Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods would film a thousand commercials before they'd even consider taking a meaningful stand on any social issue.
The sad truth is that politicians are more likely to be swayed by the popularity and fame of professional athletes than they are of any mere worker. The Packers have considerable clout as an institution, even more so now with a Super Bowl trophy in hand. This is a public-owned franchise. Viewed in that light, the Packer players are state employees, not so terribly unlike those picketing along State Street and Capitol Square.
Today, Charles Woodson lent his support to the state's public workers, prompting former NFL Players' Association head (and Madison resident) Ed Garvey to note, "Woodson is in a fight with Walker-like NFL owners. He needs his union, we need ours! Thank you, Charles Woodson."