Our newly elected (sigh) Governor Scott Walker, a man with a long history of fucking up government in Milwaukee and now apparently intent on doing the same for the state, recently announced his plan to strip almost all collective bargaining rights from state employees. He also wants them to contribute more toward pensions and health benefits, which is, as far as any state worker has told me, absolutely fine. Very few people are protesting that - but the stripping of their right to fair representation with their employers? Yeah, people are pissed.
That's at least 50 years of established state law he's spitting on. Not to mention just a vengeful thing to do.
I've been writing about this over at my "professional" blog, Emily's Post, for the last week now and will be continuing to cover this debacle as it unfolds this week and beyond (you can see video I took of yesterday's UW student protest here). You can also find some of my handiwork over at Dane101, along with plenty of other good coverage.
This is a crucial moment in Wisconsin history, so it's good to see so many people so up in arms and ready to fight for their rights and the rights of their friends and neighbors. I can only hope the outcry doesn't fall on deaf ears in the Legislature, where the so-called budget repair bill that contains the union busting provision is being rammed through this week.
Lots of other good bloggers and reporters have been and will continue to cover the saga, as well, and all are worth keeping tabs on:
- Blogging Blue
- Blue Cheddar
- Caffeinated Politics
- Eye on Wisconsin
- Forward Lookout
- Isthmus Daily Page
- Illusory Tenant
- The Political Environment
UPDATE (2/15/11 - 5:51 p.m.)
What an amazing day. Will have my full recap for Emily's Post on Thursday, but you can check out my set of photos from today's rallies right here. That's 10,000+ people converging on the capitol, including some 700 East High School students who walked out of class and marched 3 miles to join. The whole thing was also surprisingly on message for a lefty protest - lots of people from all over the state, both union and non-union alike, and very exuberant.
I'm told that there are still thousands of people up at the capitol, mostly due to a large contingent of public school teachers who came out once their work was done for the day. Lots of folks packed into the Joint Finance Committee meeting discussing the budget repair bill, and word from those inside is that those speaking against the bill outnumber those for it something like 20 to 1.
An interesting week, indeed. Expect more posts here in the future, too.