Failing to find common ground, the Democratic members of Wisconsin’s state senate fled the state rather than be forced into voting for a budget, that included sharp cuts to state services and eliminated collective bargaining for public workers unions. The logic was that without their participation the state senate could not find a quorum and therefore could not vote on a controversial bill—Republicans in Wisconsin worked around that logic yesterday, separating out the ban on collective bargaining and passing the bill without Democrats present. Suffice it to say Democrats, union members and critics of Wisconsin’s embattled Republican Gov. Scott Walker have gone ballistic, ensuring that an ugly scene played out over the past several weeks in Madison was only going to get worse. The GOP-run state assembly is scheduled to vote on the collective bargaining bill this afternoon, which is assured of success and of being signed by Gov. Walker, ending the ability of public sector unions to negotiate contracts with the state. Why couldn’t the two sides come together and is Wisconsin a bellwether for union battles to come in other states?
Mary Bottari, director of the Real Economy Project at the Center for Media and Democracy