The Madeleine Brand Show for February 23, 2011

Unions at a crossroads... and in the crosshairs: is collective bargaining on its way out?

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Eric Thayer/Getty Images

A protester outside the Wisconsin State Capitol February 22, 2011. With state Democrats still in hiding over the legislation proposed by the Governor to restrict collective bargaining for public workers, Republicans threatened to move on without them.

Across the country unions are facing public and budget scrutiny. In Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana, Michigan and Tennessee, Republican lawmakers have threatened to strip public unions of collective bargaining and dues-collecting powers. And debate has been raging in California over high retiree benefits for public employees. Meanwhile, street protests supporting union workers continue in Madison and beyond. Is this the last gasp of union power? Or will collective bargaining return in better budget times? UC Berkeley's Harley Shaiken tells us this moment could quickly become a turning point in the history of organized labor.

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