Bye bye, collective bargaining: Wisconsin GOP one-ups derelict Democrats,

Posted by: ST on March 9, 2011 at 9:38 pm

Good for them:

MADISON, Wis. — The Wisconsin Senate voted Wednesday night to strip nearly all collective bargaining rights from public workers, approving an explosive proposal that had rocked the state and unions nationwide after Republicans discovered a way to bypass the chamber’s missing Democrats.

All 14 Senate Democrats fled to Illinois nearly three weeks ago, preventing the chamber from having enough members present to consider Gov. Scott Walker’s “budget-repair bill” – a proposal introduced to plug a $137 million budget shortfall.

The Senate requires a quorum to take up any measures that spend money. But Republicans on Wednesday separated from the legislation the proposal to curtail union rights, which spends no money, and a special committee of lawmakers from both the Senate and Assembly approved the bill a short time later.

The unexpected yet surprisingly simple procedural move ended a stalemate that had threatened to drag on indefinitely. Until Wednesday’s stunning vote, it appeared the standoff would persist until Democrats returned to Madison from their self-imposed exile.

“In 30 minutes, 18 state Senators undid 50 years of civil rights in Wisconsin. Their disrespect for the people of Wisconsin and their rights is an outrage that will never be forgotten,” said Democratic Senate Minority Leader Mark Miller. “Tonight, 18 Senate Republicans conspired to take government away from the people.”

Miller said in an interview with The Associated Press there is nothing Democrats can do now to stop the bill: “It’s a done deal.”

Here’s more, via the Journal Sentinel:

Madison — The Senate – without Democrats present – abruptly voted Wednesday to eliminate almost all collective bargaining for most public workers.

The bill, which has sparked unprecedented protests and drawn international attention, now heads to the Assembly, which is to take it up at 11 a.m. Thursday. The Assembly, which like the Senate is controlled by Republicans, passed an almost identical version of the bill Feb. 25.

The new version passed the Senate 18-1 Wednesday night, with Sen. Dale Schultz (R-Richland Center) casting the no vote. There was no debate

Senate Minority Leader Mark Miller (D-Monona) said Democrats who have been boycotting the Senate for three weeks would return to Wisconsin once the bill passes the Assembly, although he declined to be more specific.

From Feb. 17 until Wednesday, the Senate Democrats were able to block a vote on the bill because 20 senators were required to be present to vote for it. Republicans control the house 19-14.

Late Wednesday, a committee stripped fiscal elements from the bill that they said allowed them to pass it with a simple majority present. The most controversial parts of the bill remain intact.

That committee, formed just hours earlier, quickly approved the bill as the lone Democrat at the meeting screamed that Republicans were violating the state’s open meetings law.

The law requires most public bodies to give 24 hours notice before they meet. The conference committee met with about two hours notice.

“This is a violation of law! It’s not a rule!” Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca (D-Kenosha) bellowed.

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) ignored Barca and ordered the role to be taken. Republicans voted for the measure as Barca continued to plead with them to stop the vote.

Republicans have not yet given an explanation of why they believe the committee could legally meet.

Minutes later, the Senate took up the bill and passed it without debate.

“Shame on you!” protesters cried from the galleries.

Is that the sound of a wahmbulance I hear?

Think I’m kidding? You can watch live the attempted mob rule as unionites angrily react to the Senate’s move.

Update/Related Reading: Wi. Gov. Scott Walker has an op/ed that will officially appear on the pages of the WSJ tomorrow, but it’s on the website tonight. You can read it here (via @WooHooYoo).

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16 Responses to “Bye bye, collective bargaining: Wisconsin GOP one-ups derelict Democrats,”


  1. Carlos says:

    So, when jackasses do this in Congress the Repubs are simply whiners and should shut up and sit down.

    When Repubs jam through legislation that is necessary to get a state’s fiscal house in order, it’s thuggery and a criminal disgrace.

    OK, I get it. Democrats = correct, civil, good listeners to “the people.” Republicans = thugs, Nazis, evil.

    Yeah, it’s real clear now.

  2. Moira says:

    Walker wins! Walker wins! Cue the Leftist riots. Civility?

  3. GettingUgly says:

    This is finally turning out the right way. However, the unions will not just accept this loss and go home. The Gov needs to protect the peace, with force if necessary. People are getting fed up. They want to be able to safely go to their capital to work or otherwise use the government facilities. People are tired of the intimidation and bullying from the unions.

  4. Dave B says:

    I have a hard time with the logic of the Wisconsin Democrats. If what the Republicans did was “illegal” then shouldn’t they have remained in the state doing what they’re paid to do and debate that fact? If they’re “crying foul” because the Republicans used the rules of the senate to carry out this legislation then how is it different when they flee the state to take advantage of senate rules to block legislation? As a Union member I’m embarassed at what I’ve seen in Wisconsin. Collective bargaining isn’t job security for good employees, many times it results in just the opposite as it imposes impossible requirements to fire bad employees, depletes resources at the expense of others so that good employees get laid off or are never hired. Millions of people have lost their jobs, we’re in the back end of what I believe is a depression; not a recession and these spoiled idiots think they can hold a sign proclaiming they care about “the children” while they’re bankrupting “the children’s” parents, grandparents, aunts,uncles and sticking “the children” with the bill so they’ll never be able to do what they were allowed to do.

  5. Patricia says:

    Wow, well said Dave B! What a clear thinker you are. Especially helpful how you mention that you’re a union worker yourself and how protections of union workers sometimes prevent bad workers from being fired and good ones from being hired in their place. Few would think of that reality. Keep posting.

  6. CA Mom says:

    Bravo, Wisconsin!!! Onward to Ohio, and the rest of the country!!!

  7. Bill G says:

    Carlos, let’s not forget that in the Playground-on-the-Potomac the Republicans were locked out of the process while in Wisconsin the democrats ran away.

  8. Chris in NC says:

    Simple question: Is there a rule/law that says it must be announced 24 hours in advance or not? If so the vote is invalid. Simple. We’re not democrats. We don’t act like democrats.

    Allow me to address an above comment:

    “when jackasses do this in Congress the Repubs are simply whiners and should shut up and sit down.

    When Repubs jam through legislation that is necessary to get a state’s fiscal house in order, it’s thuggery and a criminal disgrace.”

    When jackasses did it via the healthcare, they did it following all the procedures set down in the rule book. When the Repubs in Wisco did it, they *may* have not. That’s a huge difference. One is the consequence of winning an election, the other is going to get tossed by any judge that hears it and is an empty victory.

  9. PE says:

    Note to the side with the most rational players: How about this, we win they lose?

  10. Brenda says:

    These Democrats have had THREE WEEKS to come home and do their job! NOW, they want to whine about what’s illegal? How about leaving the citizens of this state hanging while Obama’s Union goons foots the bill for some cushy retreat?
    I WANT THIS BILL PASSED NOW!!!! We Wisconsinites deserve to have our voices heard over this maddening horde of union-paid thugs and whiners. I WANT THIS BILL PASSED NOW!!!
    Don’t give me it’s ‘illegal’, don’t give me how it’s OK for the Democrats to do it, but it’s not allowable for Republicans to do so, THEY HAD THEIR CHANCE to do what is right and as usual, THEY RAN.
    Can you tell I’m fed up? YES. We, the REAL people of Wisconsin have been pushed too far!

  11. Iva Biggin says:

    There is no “right” to collective bargaining by employees in the Constitution. This will pass, become law and will stand any legal challenge (Unless the judges are intimidated by the union pigs who will undoubtedly be threatening them or their families).

  12. Timbok says:

    Idaho, Ohio and Wisconsin have set the example for taking on the public sector unions in this country.

    The days of collective bargaining at the expense of individual accomplishment in public government are over. The days of overpaid teachers; of extorting unions; of legalized theft of taxpayer monies are over.

  13. Chris in NC says:

    Not trying to stir the pot here. But whether or not this will stand will depend entirely on whether or not all rules regarding such legislation were followed.

    I know the fleebaggers were breaking the law. I get that. But if there was supposed to be a posting period required by law that all bills be announced at least 24 hours before they were voted on and this procedure was not followed, a judge will toss the law. Said judge would have a legal and moral requirement to do so.

    Whether or not a right to collectively bargain exists or not is completely irrelevant. The privilege of collective bagaining was legal until yesterday. If the rules of the votes were not followed, it will be legal again real quick.

    I harp on this because democrats are experts at twisting the law and getting things their way in courts. We have a standard that they have never nor will ever have to uphold. It sucks but that’s the way it is. So, I ask again: Here’s the quote:

    “That committee, formed just hours earlier, quickly approved the bill as the lone Democrat at the meeting screamed that Republicans were violating the state’s open meetings law.

    The law requires most public bodies to give 24 hours notice before they meet. The conference committee met with about two hours notice.”

    Is that true? If it is this victory is gone. It will be tossed under the bus faster than obama throws his embarrassing supporters.

    If not, then pass the champagne…

  14. Polynesian says:

    Observation #1: Unions once did do a lot of good, and now they are rampant with corruption. By the way, FDR, who in principle supported unions in the private sector, was totally against collective bargaining in the public sector.

    Observation #2: The legislation in Wisconsin left intact the right to bargain for pay, and it’s interesting to see how so many internet statements that the unions were “stipped” of nearly all collective bargaining rights.

    Observation #3: It’s laughable that some people want to portray this event in Wisconsin as a hijacking of “democracy” when the Democratic senators ran off trying to prevent a quorum (filibuster, yeah right) and then had another tactic shoved right back. They didn’t think very far ahead, did they? Not to mention, they obviously didn’t have the numbers to defeat a GOP vote. Seems to me that they were running away so that they wouldn’t be blamed for the outcome of the vote.

    Observation #4: The vehemence of the pro-union people on Facebook and others is quite striking, even to the point of leveling personal insults if someone doesn’t agree with them. That sort of tactic ends up losing support, so as far as I’m concerned, well done, Wisconsin.

  15. Joe says:

    Those of you who are pointing out that the Democratic senators were not doing their job are missing the point of ‘why’ they were doing that. They knew that they would be unable to stop this from being passed, so they did what they could to try to support the people who agreed with them. Were they breaking the law? Probably. But they were still doing what they were probably put in to do: show their full support for the people who put them in.

    On top of that, if this was passed illegally, then I’m pretty sure that it’ll be reversed fast, then when it comes around again there will undoubtedly be something else by the Democratic senators to stall it as much as possible, and next time elections come around I can guess who’re losing a lot of votes from public workers.