Walker vs. Walk-Out

From msnbc:

MADISON, Wis. — Gov. Scott Walker on Friday ruled out a compromise proposed by a key union to retain collective bargaining rights in exchange for public workers accepting benefit cuts.

At a press conference, Walker said he could not consider the offer by the largest state workers union because it only covered some public employees and came late in the process.

Walker and other Republicans have been trying to pass a controversial bill that would end a half-century of collective bargaining for most public workers in Wisconsin.

Original DVD cover

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 Walker, a fellow Republican, to send two state troopers to the home of Mark Miller, the top state Senate Democrat, and other holdouts.

The Wisconsin Constitution prohibits police from arresting legislators while they’re in session.


While the Senate was paralyzed, the Assembly met on Friday.


[…] Assembly Democratic Minority Leader Peter Barca shouted from the floor after his microphone was shut off that Democrats plan to fight to the “bitter end” to stop the bill.

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.


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.


Hundreds of teachers have joined the protests by calling in sick, forcing school districts — including the state’s largest, Milwaukee Public Schools — to cancel classes.

One sign taped to a statue outside the Capitol compared the governor to former Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak, who stepped down last week after weeks of mass protests against his three-decade rule. The sign read, “Impeach Scott Mubarak!”

Bill supporters have been much less visible, although an “I Stand With Scott Walker” rally was planned for Saturday.

Despite the groundswell of support, it seems Democrats are merely delaying the inevitable — Republicans say they have the votes to pass the bill — yet the protesters are undeterred.


In an interview with Milwaukee television station WTMJ, President Barack Obama compared Walker’s bill to “an assault on unions.”


Speaking on CBS’ “The Early Show” on Friday morning, Walker urged the Democrats to return to Madison and face the vote.

“The state senators who are hiding out down in Illinois should show up for work, have their say, have their vote, add their amendments, but in the end, we’ve got a $3.6 billion budget deficit we’ve got to balance.”

Senate rules and the state constitution say absent members can be compelled to appear, but it does not say how.


Sen. Tim Cullen said he and other Democrats planned to stage their boycott until Saturday to give the public more time to speak out against the bill.


Walker, who took office last month, called the boycott a “stunt.” He vowed not to concede.

Some Democrats elsewhere applauded the developments as a long-awaited sign that their party was fighting back against the Republican wave created by November’s midterm election.


Thursday’s events were reminiscent of a 2003 dispute in Texas, where Democrats twice fled the state to prevent adoption of a redistricting bill designed to give Republicans more seats in Congress. The bill passed a few months later.

The proposal marks a dramatic shift for Wisconsin, which passed a comprehensive collective bargaining law in 1959 and was the birthplace of the national union representing all non-federal public employees.

In addition to eliminating collective-bargaining rights, the legislation also would make public workers pay half the costs of their pensions and at least 12.6 percent of their health care coverage — increases Walker calls “modest” compared with those in the private sector.


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22 responses to “Walker vs. Walk-Out

  1. MNLatteLiberal

    thanks for dedicating another blog to this issue.
    what doesn’t get mentioned (and if it does, it’s not often) is that
    – Walker’s assault is only on the unions that did not support him, and supported his opponent. WI firemen and police unions are NOT being busted; they supported Walker. It’s the teachers and other state workers.
    – Walker and the Rethugs just passed a nice set of tax cuts, which he promised during his campaign. He never said how he was going to pay for that. Now we see how: by busting unions and f’ing the middle class.
    – I am going to walk away from the computer, take a deep breath and relax for now.

    • i was going to switch to another subject, but i saw weasel walker on tv, and he pissed me off. i’m waiting for some reporter to ask if it was just a coincidence that the unions who backed him for election were exempted from his wrath.

  2. Friend of the court

    may Wisconsin be the beginning. Madison was out front in the anti-war movement in the 60’s, iirc.

  3. jean-philippe

    More and more I feel we are living in a dystopian future…

  4. I have this feeling Walker would look at the photoshop and say, “Hey, I’m Chuck Norris. How cool!” and completely miss the point.

    Inspired and I have been following this story intently. Right now, half the tabs I have open are about it.

    • that’s good news for john mccain! 😆

      it really is such a compelling story. it’s the david and goliath story playing out before our eyes. i just hope that david wins.

  5. This is the ultimate goper dream to eliminate all unions. About a dozen states are going to try to do the bankruptcy thing to overturn all contracts and void all pensions too. To put this into laymens terms, state employess are fucked.

    • hopefully, the ending will be that the politicians who insist on shitting on the poor and middle class will be the ones who get fucked. whenever the pendulum swings in one direction, it swings back in the other. when people get a taste of what it’s like to live under rethuglican tyrannical rule, they’ll think twice the next time they vote. at least i hope so.

  6. jeb

    If this asswipe’s goal was not union busting he would accept the compromise. But of course their two goals are to extend tax cuts to the wealthy (check) and break the middle class completely (in progress).

    • it shows you that walker and his ilk are not too bright. that’s what happens when you can only follow orders instead of think for yourself. he’s painted himself into a corner. the unions look reasonable, and his real agenda is there for all to see. he’s also given fair warning to other states, and activists in minnesota are already planning demonstrations to support the wisconsin protesters.

  7. kaylaspop


  8. Nonnie, I’d sooooo love to post this on my own site! I’d give you full credit for the graphics and link back to your site for that honor!!!

  9. The real target here isn’t just the unions’ right to collectively bargain. The Chamber of Commerce paid for these candidates’ elections and part of the bargain was to crush organized labor. Public employees unions now outnumber the membership of private industrial unions, by far. Crushing organized labor’s biggest unions would in turn (here’s the real target) cripple the largest source of Democratic activists/fundraising giving the GOP a lock on future elections. The Supremes are in the pockets of the CofC so all of this will be legally justifiable in the end, and we get a one-party system of government, bought and paid for by the corporate masters.
    The fight in Wisconsin will play out in Columbus Ohio, Nashville Tn, and a dozen other capital cities. Hide and watch…

    • that’s exactly it. they want to drown unions in the same bathtub they want to drown government. they want a corpocracy, and the koch brothers want to be kings of the world.

  10. it is about time the unions, students and middle class WOKE UP and realized that the very republiscum many of them voted for are goose step in line with Koch and Armey – to kill the middle class and keep all the spoils themselves.

    walker opened a can of worms and i so hope it doesnt close

    • I hope it doesn’t close either. I’m worried Alabama’s Republican legislature and governor will take cues from Wisconsin. 😦

    • i think they really screwed the pooch this time. before now, most people weren’t paying attention to what’s been going on politically. they’re too busy looking for jobs and trying to survive. however, they can’t and won’t ignore protests going on in this country, and they’ll finally wake up and realize what’s really going on and what the rethugs have planned. even the faux news devotees have to be wondering what’s going on. you have to believe that at least some of them belong to unions and understand how screwed workers will be if unions disappear.