Anti-union bill passed in Wisconsin

Vote called after sixty hours of debate


Wisconsin’s state assembly has passed a controversial bill that would eliminate collective bargaining power for the state’s labour unions. Governor Scott Walker was unmoved by the large protests that have taken over the state’s Capitol building in Madison, saying the union-busting bill was essential to give the government the flexibility needed to close a $3.6-billion budget gap. Walker expects the bill will save $300-million over three years. Wisconsin is a staunch union state, and tens of thousands of protestors have descended on Madison to loudly express their opposition to the controversial measure, which is also being considered by the state legislatures in Ohio and Indiana. The bill was approved 51-17, after Republicans cut off debate shortly after 1:00am after 60 hours of debate. Many Democrats did not have a chance to vote. The motion will now go to the Senate, which also has a Republican majority.


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Anti-union bill passed in Wisconsin

  1. This is not anti union bill, MacLeans. This is pro taxpayer bill.

    • If it was so "Pro-taxpayer" lets go after the corporations or billionaire twins who use every loohole in the book to deny state coffers of revenue. You will soon be in the lower tax bracket soon to as inflation and the companies suck your bank account dry.

      • Do you even know what a corporation is? Tax corporation tax corporation that all I hear from the left.

        A corporation consists of people. Management, Employees, Shareholders. As if you tax "corporation" there is no net effect to all the people involved.

        • Tax cuts to corporations have no effect whatsoever on the bottom rank employees, they only help the executives of the corporation and its shareholders (ie, the rich who already pay less tax than anyone else). The other tax-cuts are to people in higher-income brackets and again, people who own shares (which excludes the lower and middle class). So essentially what this bill is is a nice big fat payoff to the wealthiest people in the state, paid for by stripping the lower and middle class of their rights and reducing the pay and benefits of lower- and middle-class government employees.

          In other words, it's a bill which not only redistributes wealth from the poor to the wealthy, but one which strips away the rights of the poor and prevents them from actually fighting for the fruits of *their own labour*, and enables the rich to continue to squeeze every last drop of work out of them while taking most of those fruits for themselves.

          So, yeah… it's pro-taxpayer. If you're already rich.

          America isn't the land of opportunity anymore. It's become the land where those with the most money have the opportunity to oppress and squeeze as much as they want out of those who have the least. And Mr Taxpayer, odds are you're in the latter category, so you keep right on swallowing that propaganda and supporting laws that just put you more and more under the thumbs of the rich, and watch your quality of life go down the toilet as they fly around in private jets plated in gold

      • You're right about the coming inflation, but do you know what inflation is and who is causing it?

        Corporations provide products and services, which place a lid on the inflation.

        The government, especially left leaning government that bent on spend more than they collect, then borrow money or even worse print money to make up the difference, that's the real cause of inflation.

        You mis-placed your blame entirely my friend.

          • I never said US republican is "right", nor US Democrats is "left", don't put words in my mouth.

            If the US Republicans overspend, then they're not true conservative, hence they're left in my book as well.

          • I'm guessing your form of conservative is different from the normal form of conservatism of minimal change as stated here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conservatism. Secondly, inflation serves a major point in reducing unemployment in the short run, not only because the left-leaning governments cannot pay for the short fall. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phillips_curve.

        • Just give your head a "really good shake" to clear the fog, then take a deep breath and really investigate what the Republican (conservative) Gov has spent and on what.

        • governments don't spend your money, they spend bank money. fresh creds. And governments always print money to keep inflation going otherwise people would not lend money as there would be a risk of not getting any return on your loan.

    • You're a moron. You're uninformed. This is definitely an anti union bill. They didn't want their rights taken away. Walker ignored their concessions. Read the rest of the bill. I'll be willing to bet you won't take the time to read all 144 pages but if you do…like I have…twice…you will discover that there are some items that would have no effect on the budget whatsoever.

    • State workers pay taxes too. They also spend their money, which pays for other people's salaries.

      • I see you subscribe to the 'Full Retard' branch of economics.

  2. it is a pro-Koch Industries bill.

    Bought and paid for.

  3. Except that Doctors, Lawyers, Judges and multiple Professional groups in Universities and large Corporations will not see their wages drop one dollar.
    This is completely contrary to all worker rights to bargaining and group negotiations. It violates the US Constitution.

  4. I for one welcome our nazi overlords.

    • Goodwin's Law FTW!

      I didn't realize Wisconsin was gassing union workers.

  5. "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. The employer is the whole people, who speak by means of laws enacted by their representatives in Congress. Accordingly, administrative officials and employees alike are governed and guided, and in many instances restricted, by laws which establish policies, procedures, or rules in personnel matters."

    — Franklin D. Roosevelt.

    • How does your appeal to authority address the collective bargaining that occurs in government in many countries around the world?
      It doesn't.

  6. This is shame. It had nothing to do with balancing the books. The WIS Public Union agreed to every cut Governor Walker demanded. It's in the Republican parties interests to lobotomize all unions in the US since they are the last major source of campaign finance left for the Democratic party. Now that the public union in Wis has become completely useless it will lose members and wither away. Leaving the 91% republican corporate donations to ensure they can pick and choose which republican candidates they want making laws. That isn't healthy for a democracy no matter what you ideology is.
    That's my two cents.

    • unions are the last major source of campaign finance left for the democrats? wrong. theres still china and a host of other communist countries. and dont forget about the illegal aliens, terrorists, muslims, homosexuals, people on the third generation of welfare. you know? the democrats general voting base

  7. I would encourage a mass walk out by all unionized employees . Figures bailout the corporations at the expense of the working class.

  8. You Americans and your silly politics. It is one step forward one step back when you have a two party system and from where I sit, it is getting more and more polarized by the day down there. On one side you have the greedy, sleazy "sell my Mommy for a buck" Republicans and on the other side it is the bleeding heart, politically over-corrected "standing up for the little guy" but just as sleazy and greedy Democrats. No matter which party gets it look like you, the average American, never win. Do yourselves a favour and start a new party that represents you, the people who go to work everyday, pay taxes, raise your children and make your country prosper. Don't keep voting for these sad sacks who say they represent you when they only represent the rich or the wacked out. TAKE YOUR COUNTRY BACK and make it what it once was; a place I looked up to.

    • Don;t be too Proud of the Canadian System as it sits today…

      Well, here in Canada we have a multi party system, but our Supreme Leader, ( did I saw that. I meant to say Prime Minister) rules more from the PMO than from Parliament. Our Parliament spends most of its time (what little that is these days) arguing of made up disasters with no real debate/compromise on the issues and parliamentary legislation for the good of the people, leaving the PM free to "RULE" from the PMO where there is no debate, simply what the Corporations and the US want him to do.

      Canada's Parliamentary System is in shambles and a disgrace compared to what it once was and what it should be.


  9. If the Wisconsin Senate passes the bill, we need a national strike. An attack on unions is an attack on the american middle class. If law makers have their way, we will continue a neverending war without funding & lose our middle class all together. I hope this awakens american labor that has been asleep for 30 years or more.

    • Exactly. Everything that our Parents and grandparents generation fought so hard to accomplish (the end of serfdom for example) is being taken away, without so much as a whimper by the current generation (forget History and it will repeat, just like acid reflux) and serfdom is being brought back with a vengeance.

      In order to be able to this based on Government debt, a financial crisis of epic proportions needed to be created to drain government coffers then people would beg for cuts and the abolition of all the benefits for which so many died to gain.

  10. I'm hoping, and honestly, almost positive that there WILL be a recall election after the necessary amount of time has passed. I feel very strongly that a recall will be no problem. I have been at the capital and spoken to many conservatives, union and otherwisel, that voted for Walker and that DO NOT support this bill and signed the sheets going around to end this. I want nothing more than for this monster to feel the pain and devastation of attack just as the majority of our public employees have felt.

    • Sure you have….

  11. Unions protect the lazy man's job; overpay for some jobs that could easily be replaced with automation; negotiate unequitable annual increases; create havoc for management and seriously drain a company's bottom line.

    • >and seriously drain a company's bottom line
      and where does all the profit from having a good bottom line go? Not to the workers who labored to produce the goods the company sells, or to those who distribute them or to the retailers who sell them. No, those profits go into the pockets of those who already make obscene amounts of money. The better that bottom line is, the more money that goes to those who worked so hard to produce and distribute them, and the less that goes to people who didn't even lift a finger (shareholders) or those who push papers all day (executives who generally do work hard and deserve compensation for it, but not obscene amounts of compensation to the detriment of everyone below them). So where's the problem with unions draining the bottom line?

      • and where does all the profit from having a good bottom line go? Not to the workers who labored to produce the goods the company sells, or to those who distribute them or to the retailers who sell them.

        Indeed, the profits do not go to any of those people. The profits are what remain after all those people have been paid. Whom the profits go to are the people who saved, invested, and bore the risk of the enterprise. Profits are not guaranteed. It is much easier for a company to lose money than to make money. When a company loses money, do you suggest that some of those losses go to the people who laboured to produce the goods the company sells?

        Profits coordinate production. If "obscene" amounts of profit are being made in industry X, it provides a market signal to entrepreneurs that there is money to be made in that industry and that they should direct production to it. A company makes a profit when consumers buy the products of that company. The profits in industry X are telling producers, "This is what people want, start making it!"

        The problem with draining the bottom line, be it by unions, taxes, or anything else, is that it destroys the incentives (profits) by which production is directed to what people want. The result is a lower standard of living for all.

    • A union doesn't form unless management doesn't listen to the workers.

    • Eric, you have to look at some of the collective agreements that have been negotiated before you make generalizations such as these. If you looked at the most recent collective agreement reached between the nurses in Alberta and the government you would know that the nurses agreed to a pay freeze (several years ago they took a 5% rollback). Unions do not negotiate unequitable annual increases. In fact, unions are all about equitability. There is no favourtism allowed in the workplace; no sexism or racism either. In Alberta, they privitized the laudry service in the hospital. Did it save money? No. Unions don't necessarily drain the company's bottom line and they don't create havoc for management. The rules between employer and employee are clearly laid out. The employer doesn't ask the employee to bend the rules and the employee doesn't offer to.

    • Just how much has the government had to pay for the incompetent manager to remain in his job in bail out and stimulus payments. Rather than have a dig at those who actually do turn up to work, look at the amount of taxes that have been redirected into greedy industry and banking execs.
      These guys may not call it a union but they are protected and rewarded as a group even when they mess up. Perhaps especially when they mess up. Air Canada, Bombardier, the car companies, the banks, xtian educational establishments, religious institutions etc all part of the Union of the privileged.
      Capitalism privatises profits and socialises losses for those who are in the know.

    • hey eric i agree 110%. unions and government are the only places that an employee can cost his employer more than the employer makes from him and still keep his job. there are thousands of union workers who retire with exorbitant pensions and benefits. the main reason states and cities are broke. our tax dollars going to retired union workers. did any of you know that $3500 of the price of a new car goes toward paying retired auto union workers pensions and benefits?

      • well my husband is in the union and he works hard for his money. What you are telling me is because your not getting his paycheck that makes you angry. Bahahahahahaha…..IF THEY KNOCK THE UNIONS THIS WHOLE COUNTRY WILL PAY FOR IT. NOT ONLY WILL OUR CHECKS BE CUT IN HALF BUT YOURS AS WELL.

      • If the union workers are costing more than they make then how is it that in every unionized industry, the few executives at the top collectively make THREE TIMES what all of the workers at the bottom make combined? Where's all of that extra money coming from?

        • Union workers in the private sector are not costing more than they make. However, if they are costing more than the market rate for their labour, then there will be some amount of unsold labour on the market, ie., unemployment. Also, the higher production cost means that there will be fewer units produced and that those units will be sold at a higher price.

          So who pays? Everyone whose standard of living is diminished by having to pay more for his or her goods, as well as all the workers who were last in line for jobs. The shareholders of the company will pay as well, in the form of smaller dividends, which will have a dampening effect on investment in general, which is the real source of wealth for all. Let us remember also that the increased purchasing power of the union workers will permit them to consume more, which is another way of saying that some other people will be consuming less.

          But you make a correct point: union workers cannot cost more than the amount of revenue they generate. You neglect to add that this is true only of private sector workers. Many commenters here have made the distinction between private and public sector workers. You seem to be unwilling to acknowledge the distinction.

          The topic of this discussion is public sector unionised workers. They do not generate any revenue. They are simply an expense forced upon everyone. They are not subject to any condition of not "costing more than they make" (and since the article states that Wisconsin is facing a "$3.6-billion budget gap", it seems the workers don't even have to cost less than they take). The public sector unions are much more pernicious and destructive to society than private ones.

          • "They do not generate any revenue. They are simply an expense forced upon everyone."

            Because healthcare, sanitation and public works do nothing to sustain the economy?

            Your argument fails by not attributing any value to these services.

          • My argument does not fail. You are accusing it of losing a battle in which it was not engaged; I never said anything about value, but will do so now.

            But first, allow me to restate the point I was making to Keta: public sector wages cannot meet a condition of being less than the amount of revenue they generate because they are not generating revenue so long as they are paid with taxes. (And even the exceptional cases in which public sector employees work in a revenue generating service, their wages still don't need to be less than revenue. For example, the 2011 TTC (Toronto Transit Commission) Operating Budget requires a City of Toronto subsidy of $412.9 million.)

            Let's say, for example, that I run a business in my basement training dogs to ride unicycles. It is safe to say that I will generate exactly $0 in revenues. However, if I am paid out of taxes, I can go on running this business well into my old age, and leave it to my heirs to operate indefinitely. Of course, this would be an example of producing no value.

            Government certainly can produce value. It can also produce no value and even negative value (ie., destroying things–war comes to mind). The point is that when there is no system of profit and loss (revenues covering, or failing to cover, expenses), there is no way to know if one is delivering no value, some value, or the most value to consumers.

            I'm reminded of a story I saw on the CBC a few years ago. It was during Toronto's "Garbage Strike". The piece was about the "other strike" occurring at the time, in Windsor, Ontario. It said that the residents of Windsor had become enamored of the long grass in their parks–it was bringing out the beauty of nature–which had been left to grow since the people who cut it were on strike. A rule was going to be passed which would stop, or reduce, the cutting of the grass in the parks.

            So here we had an example of highly paid public sector workers demanding higher pay for destroying public beauty (value).

  12. This bill passing is the best thing to happen in North America in the past 50 years.

    • Amen!

      • I guess civil rights don't quite make the cut? Sorry, Rosa.

  13. – Unionized government workers make more than 20% more than average taxpayer + guaranteed pensions + unparalleled health benefits + guaranteed jobs for life +++
    – Unionized government workers typically have earnings in the top 25th percentile of all Canadians … and above (!)

    Why should the poorest 75% of Canadian workers be forced to subsidize the 25% of government workers?

    Because there's a lot of them? Because government workers can make it painful for us by withdrawing their labour for vital services, maintenance of our roads, food and water? Drunk on power much?

    Is that fair? Is that equitable?

    Why should the private schoolbus driver whos makes half of what a TTC driver makes be *forced* to pay the TTC driver's inflated wages, pensions, and benefits through his taxes? Is that equitable? Is that right?

    Should we to impoverish the schoolbus driver to fatten the wallet of the TTC employee who will retire at age 54?

    *Real* workers need those dollars back in their pockets.

    *Real* workers need to put food on their table. *Real* workers need to send their kids to daycare.

    *Real* workers need to stand up and fight. No more fat-cat public sector union workers.

    • My sentiments exactly. Sick up to the back teeth with them all. Unfortunately Governments have let the unions get their own way for far too long.

    • Shall we take that to the next level?

      How about paying everyone 10 bucks an hour. Nobody deserves more than that, right?
      Why should anyone pay taxes for medical services they don't use? I mean, why should that bus driver subsidize some silly dialysis treatment?


      • Of course different people should be paid differently. The question though is what we are rewarding. Should people be paid more because they happen to be in industries where workers are easy to mobilize and strikes are costly (eg. providing services where the government is a monopoly provider), or because of their skills?

        • What about the flip side? Should people be paid less because they happen to be in industries where workers are difficult to mobilize, and strikes not terribly costly or because of their skills?

          • How about those of us in unions who show up to work, never strike and do our job? Am I a "fatcat" because I have dental coverage? Seriously, is that how nasty we've gotten?

    • Where do you get this stuff you are spouting off….jobs for life…that is ridiculous. No body has a guaranteed job for life. The only thing a union provides is a guarantee that layoffs will be done in order of senority so the people who have worked there the longest will be the last to lose their jobs. You are obviously angry that some professions are making more money than others. I admit I do not know about these people who drive the school buses but I do know about some other public sector employees. Do you know that in the "old days" (1920's) they educated nurses and used the students as cheap labor and NEVER gave them a job upon graduation. Instead, they just kept educating class after class, using the students to do the work. Nurses in the province of Alberta were atrociously underpaid until they went on strike in 1988. That is why unions are still needed.

      • Where do you get this stuff you are spouting off….jobs for life…that is ridiculous. No body has a guaranteed job for life.


        From the linked article:

        "The Ford administration is trying to eliminate about 300 city jobs without violating CUPE's collective agreement, which guarantees all permanent, full-time employees displaced by privatization another job elsewhere in the municipal work force."

        • Yes, JustinWordswrth – that is what happens – you privatize services and you find jobs for displaced workers elsewhere in the municipal work force. The City made that agreement. It will likely happen by moving people into jobs vacated due to retirement or people quitting. Ultimately, however, if the City of Toronto ran low on cash and had to start laying off workers, it would happen in order of senority. No one has a guaranteed job for life and your article does not indicate any different. All you have to do is look at the history of nursing. Nurses have some of the strongest unions and yet nurses are always finding themselves out of jobs when the government does cut backs.

          • The Calgary Herald reported today that the school boards in Alberta are looking at laying off teachers as the government is making cutbacks….no jobs for life for these unionized workers.

          • Where do you get this stuff you are spouting off….jobs for life…that is ridiculous.
            …was your question. Justin just answered your question, Insider.

          • No he didn't. Being guaranteed a job against privatization displacement does not necessarily imply a job for life. It guarantees a job against displacement from privatization.

        • Where's the lifetime employment bit?

          • The part about guaranteed jobs.

          • When a union and employer make a deal to guarantee jobs for those individuals displaced when services are turned over to the public sector, there is no caveat saying those jobs will be for life. If cut backs happen, layoffs happen in order of senority.

    • Well said real worker.

      Our labor laws no do the job unions used to do in terms of protecting against unfair labor practices. Today, particularily in the government context, unions serve one purpose only:

      to extort ever higher salary and benefits under threat of cutting off essential services on mass. They used to be illigal with respect to governments in the US because there was no off setting forces – a government can't "go out of business" putting the worker out of work, taxes just go higher, the taxpayer ever more strained.

      • Chet, you know full well that unions have negotiated pay freezes and even roll backs in tough economic times such as these so at least try to pretend to be honest.

  14. Unions are united against the public that pays them, especially teachers who use kids as hostages during negotiations – they're real scumbags, which is obvious from the blatant fraud we saw with their 'sick' notes, the union thugs should be fired en masse.

  15. Oh great!! Abolish unions; bring back slavery; a real 'progressive' bill.

    • You will please highlight the passage of the bill that brings back slavery?

  16. American politics are different guys. Their union situations are different from ours. Especially because the American government is one of the worst employers, even historically, when it comes to treating their employees. And no the politicians don't count because they control the money.

  17. Walker "unmoved" by the union protesters….the leftist press moans,

    no word on how he was moved…literally…by the voters via a democratic process, to do exactly what he promised he would do, and what the voters expect him to do,

    We muct forgive the "tolerant progressive" leftist media for thinking a self interested mob of entrenched union workers with benefits that are bankrupting the state must be representative of the people.

    It's the prism through which they view the world.

    • Chet, you might think Walker is a really smart guy but he is not. Now he has the privilege of overseeing thousands of civil servants whose on the job morale will be at an all time low. That means more sick time, less productivity and little to no motivation to make his life easier. He should have worked with the unions when they were willing to make the concessions. He probably could have gotten the employees to take a rollback in wages and benefits. The voters would have been appeased and the employees would have felt that he had at least some respect for them.

      • In other words, fear union thuggery?

        Placate their threats?

        Ignore the will of the voters?

        Jonah Goldberg has written a fascinating book about the authoritarian leanings of today's left. You should give it a read.

        • Low morale at work is not the result of "union thuggery". Rather, it occurs when your boss sends you a message that you are powerless and not valued. That is what Mr. Walker has done. I have seen it happen first hand in healtcare in Alberta. You can oppress people and you will be the "winner" on paper but you will lose their hearts, minds and dedication. This is a sad thing to see when we are talking about firefighters, police, teachers and nurses.

          • A union member speaking out against the union bosses at a meeting will know exactly what it's like to feel powerless and not valued. Or worse than that.

          • I am sorry Philanthropist but you will have to come up with examples of instances where people have accused the union of bullying them. Meanwhile, I will come up with a couple of very recent examples where employers have bullied employees and a union's protection was needed. The first is the case of three female conductors from Jasper. CN fired them and the Human Rights Commision just found in favor of the women. The second is the case of an MLA in Alberta. He is a physician named Raj Sherman and the Alberta Govt. tried to have him found not mentally competent to continue in his work. He definitely needed a union. He hired his own lawyer instead.

          • I am sorry Philanthropist but you will have to come up with examples of instances where people have accused the union of bullying them.

            Any union that fails to use secret balloting is employing coercion.

          • Which unions have you worked in that have failed to use secret balloting, MYL? I have worked in two large civil service unions – one in the City of Edmonton, the other being the United Nurses of Alberta. Both used secret balloting.

  18. looks like the tea party wins in the states, no more unions, the republicans rule the roost. Wait until sarah becomes pres, lots of fun for us, it would not surprise me if they invade us, save our socialist country.

  19. land of the freeeeeeeeee and the home of the braveeeeeeeeeeee.


  20. Why hasn't Walker fired all those teachers that called in 'sick'? Teachers suck. They just aren't good for anything. Most can't even teach!

    • It gets better. Apparently sympathetic doctors have hit the sidewalks to sign bogus sick notes for the strikers. Doctors knowingly committing fraud. Nice.

      • Funny how that works. You try to oppress and marginalize a group of people and someone stands up and supports them. Maybe the State of Wisconsin can jail the doctors.

        • You like your healthcare professional to be a liar?

          Jail is a bit much, for such a nonviolent offense. Fines and license suspensions from the professional bodies will do.

    • Teachers educated at the University of Calgary now have six years of university education prior to graduation. Those who graduate from the University of Lethbridge have 5 years. You have no idea how much money an elementary teacher spends out of his/her own pocket for resources for their classroom. Cytotoxic, get back to us after you have spent 2 weeks volunteering to help grade 1 students learn how to read and have immersed yourself in a classroom with 25 of the little sweethearts. Then you can comment on how "teachers suck".

  21. the free worlds equivilant to straffing their own citizens while strolling down main st

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