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Lawmakers cut public worker bargaining rights

Wisconsin Assembly members hold hands during a prayer by the Rev. Jesse Jackson before a session at the state Capitol in Madison on Thursday. The Assembly passed a bill stripping the collective bargaining rights of most of the state's public workers. (AP Photo/Andy Manis)

Associated Press

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin lawmakers have voted to strip nearly all collective bargaining rights from the state’s public workers in one of the strongest blows to the power of unions in years.

The state’s Assembly passed Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s explosive proposal 53-42 Thursday. The state’s Senate approved it the night before after using a procedural move to bypass its AWOL Democrats.

Walker said he’ll sign the legislation as quickly as possible.

The vote brings a swift end to a standoff over union rights that has rocked Wisconsin and the nation. Tens of thousands of protesters have converged on the state’s Capitol for weeks of demonstrations.

The implementation of Walker’s proposal will be a key victory for Republicans who have targeted unions amid efforts to slash government spending.

Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


  1. Workers do not have bargaining “rights”. The collective bargaining ability is given and can be taken away. Unions are a cancer on our country. ‘They must be eliminated. They are for the sissy boy who can’t bargain for himself.

  2. Let’s see if I have this right, the workers will take approximately a 8% cut in take home pay and future raises are tied to the CPI. So future raises will be at the most equal to the CPI, that means public workers will never get the 8% back unlike most of the private sector employees who will see larger raises as the economy turns around.

    Being a state worker for 12 years I can only remember 2 years when my raise was greater then the CPI and that was after a market analysis was done. I am sure my raises from Mr. Walker will never be the CPI, so I will continue to fall behind.

    To all of the citizens of WI, your welcome for my contribution to eliminate the deficit created by your elected officials over the last 10 + years. I now feel like a smoker, find a small group no one will care about and tax the few so the masses do not have to pay more.

    Greed has taken over our society, everyone must have more than anyone else. Neither side of this issue is correct.

  3. Bhannes,

    At what age will you become eligible to collect that guaranteed pension?

    Perhaps when you reach that age you can jump ship and join the private sector, or better yet get a different public sector job so you can accrue a second pension.

    Those of us in the private sector do not see ever contributing less for medical insurance and it is not likely the meager 401k match will come back any time soon. For us too, what is gone is gone. Be happy that you were able to delay the effective cuts to 2011 or 2012. Most of us saw them in 2009.

  4. Irwin,

    I may be lucky to get a pension if both sides of the isle keep it up, I know I will not have social socurity payments and I have at least 20 years to go.

    We all made choices where to work, yes I can go to the private sector and have had offers in the last 4 months but you too could have applied for a job in governement and either choose not to or were not selected – only we have control of our choices.

    I should automatically take less because you feel you have less than I – that is the fundemental problem with society. I have no problems taking cuts but the public employees are taking them all and that is the problem.

    Would you feel the same if everyone named Irwin needed to pay another 8% of their salary to cover the debt created by our elected officials?

  5. Irwin,

    I have not seen a raise since 2008, and had a 6% pay cut due to unpaid days last year, so this is not the beginning for me, the down hill slide continues. Everyone in the middle class is feeling it and the current situation is dividing us so it can continue.

  6. Bhannes,

    You currently work for the tax payer. Never, ever, forget that. The public sector workers should feel no more nor no less economic pain than the average tax payer.

    I am very happy where I am and would not trade.

    You haven’t seen a raise and took a 6% hit due to furlough days? Ouch. Most have taken more than a 6% hit and had to work those days. You will not get much sympathy form the bulding community.

  7. Irwin,

    I hope you enjoy the race to the bottom, because that is where we (the middle class) are all heading and it sure seems like you are in favor of it.

    I don’t forget who I work for, but if your boss treated you like you think public employees should be treated I wouldn’t stay there. You said you were happy with your job, so everyone else should be brought down to your level? Race to the bottom that’s right…

    I am not a walmart checker with a GED and should not be treated like one either.

    I make less than my counter parts in the private sector and do not ask for any more. Counter parts in my field in the private sector did not take cuts they worked more hours, just like I did and now I can take on more work for less due to retirements (40 % of the staff just left my department).

    In the end your services will go down, you will complain and the government will hire private contractors at a higher rate, then your taxes will go up, your employer will take more away and you will still have less. Enjoy the race to the bottom.

    I do not know what you do for a living, but you would be better to find data to support a raise or better benefits then to expect everyone else’s to be cut.

  8. Bhannes,

    The standard of living in the much of the world, including the United States has been artifically inflated due to deficit spending. Consumers did it by over leveraging and our government has done it for decades. It has reached the point of being unsustainable. Costs must be reeled in. Sorry, nothing personal.

    As we have been saying around our office for the last 3 years, “This is the new normal”.

  9. Irwin,

    We have a lot of the same beliefs, trust me it is rare to find one like me in the public sector. I wish not to argue over the net, I would rather discuss over a beer. Bottom line is the middle class is losing ground and since the middle class buys many products it will be a hard cycle to break as it continues and unfortunatly I only see it getting worse.

    I wish you my best in the future.

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