Sunday, February 27, 2011

February 27, 2011

     It sounds like one of those silly state government stories--the Senate is hiding out to avoid passing some wacko piece of legislation.  But this time it's important.
     It started when the governor, facing, like most governors, a deficit, proposed some spending cuts.  But this governor, Republican Scott Walker, went further. He wants the legislature to pass a law sharply restricting the rights of state employee unions to bargain collectively.  The governor's plan would forbid unions to engage in collective bargaining except on the issue of wages.  No negotiating about hours, safety, working conditions--none of that stuff.  And raises would be limited to no more than the rate of inflation.
     Their state Assembly approved this astonishing change in traditional collective bargaining.  Democrats in the state Senate fled the state, so as to prevent a vote they thought they'd lose.  There's a similar walkout, for similar reasons, in Indiana.
     I don't know where you stand on these major changes in how collective bargaining works.  I'm against them.  But in any case, we should all be paying attention because we are talking about very big changes in the way our system works. 
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