After three weeks of labor protests and shenanigans from both Wisconsin Republicans and Democrats — the standoff in the state is over — at least for now.
Republican Gov. Scott Walker has won the fight against public sector unions in the state to eliminate their right to collectively bargain on pension and health-care benefits.
Last night, State Senate Republicans figured out a way to move forward on the a measure that has been stalled due to the fact that the state's 14 Senate Democrats fled to Illinois to avoid a vote.
Limiting unions' right to collectively bargain was originally tucked into a budget "repair" bill that also involved appropriations. In Wisconsin, a quorum is needed in order to vote on spending matters. Senate Republicans finally decided to just strip appropriations from the bill altogether, allowing them to vote on the controversial labor issue.
"Senate Republicans have exercised the nuclear option to ram through their bill attacking Wisconsin's working families in the dark of night," said Phil Neuenfeldt, president of the Wisconsin State A.F.L.-C.I.O., the New York Times reports.
The State Assembly will vote on the bill today. It is expected to pass, making way for Gov. Walker to sign the legislation later this afternoon.
This fight is far from over though. Protests at the State Capitol continue and there are procedural and legal questions over how Senate Republicans handled the vote.
Stay tuned for continuing coverage!
In the meantime, tell us what you think and check out our interivews with AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka and Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch:
- collectively bargain
- Republican Gov. Scott Walker