Landmark Events: Wisconsin Limits Collective Bargaining

By Ted Dieck | Recruiter’s View - Employment Scene - Landmark Events - Recent | Mar 12, 2011

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker signed into law a bill restricting the collective bargaining rights of the state’s public employees.

Other states, notably Ohio, are pursuing similar strategies. (Indiana is held up as a success story, having already turned its budget around, using similar principles.)

Republicans claimed the law would save an estimated $30 million, up against a $137 million budget shortfall.  They represent that unionized public employees earn significantly more, with more benefits, than similar employees in private industry.

The unions argued that they were being attacked directly.

In essence, they were. Republicans characterized unionized public employees as embodying a fundamental conflict of interest. Public employees are tax payers, essentially bargaining with themselves.

Further, the Wisconsin Republicans argued that unions’ procedural roadblocks make expeditious cost cutting nearly impossible, at all levels of government.

Fourteen Democrats were unavailable to participate directly in the debates. They chose to leave the state entirely, rather than take part in a vote.

The Governor’s signature did not immediately activate the new labor law.

It was challenged on procedural grounds.