Damn the Torpedoes!

It happened yesterday afternoon so you might have heard already, but Scott Walker and his allies in the WI Senate succeeded in sneaking through their union-busting provision through some legislative finagling. In a nutshell, the quorum needed to pass a bill (i.e. 20 Senators and the reason Republicans couldn’t make it happen with 19 members present) only applies to budget provisions. By picking apart Walker’s “budget repair” bill, stripping out anything having to do with the budget and leaving in only the provision curtailing collective bargaining rights, the bill no longer needed 20 members (important to note: one moderate Republican voted against, making the final tally 18-1). It was an underhanded tactic but a legal one. However, by using this method of legislating, we’ve put to bed any pretense that Walker only had the budget in mind. This was always about breaking the union and it appears Walker, Koch and Co. have won a victory, short as it may be.

The unions haven’t settled on a strategy, though a general strike doesn’t look imminent. I’m sure the ghost of Ronald Reagan and the air traffic controllers’ firing is haunting their plans. After all, who here believes Walker wouldn’t just up and fire every public worker on the picket line, illegal or not? Yet despite the passing of the bill, its success comes at a pretty high cost for Walker politically. His approval rating has plummeted and the public is overwhelmingly on the side of the unions. What that means is that the recall petitions are going to be swooping around the state even more fervently. 8 senators are currently elligible while Walker has to be in office for a year. I’m betting the unions aren’t likely to let WI forget this debacle in a year. The WI Democrats, meanwhile, are throwing their resources behind the recall effort, vowing to replace the members who voted for theĀ  provision.

The next steps in WI are unknown but one thing is certain: Walker’s anti-union stunt won’t turn out the way he envisioned.



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