Today’s Open Thread On What’s Going On in Madison

by on March 10, 2011 · 17 comments

in Civil Rights, Labor, Organizing

Here is our open thread for today on what’s happening in Madison, Wisconsin.

9:05 a.m. PST – Last night WI Republican Senators illegally held a vote and passed a bill outlawing public employee collective bargaining rights. They had removed the fiscal provisions of the bill that Gov Walker has been trying to force on the people in that state. By removing the fiscal provisions, the GOP members felt they then could hold a vote on “just” the collective bargaining provisions. Clearly, this was not only improper as they did not follow Senate rules of notice, but also violated WI law of open meetings.

The bill was passed 18 to 1 with no Democrats in attendance.

In response demonstrators have converged on the WI capital and about 3 dozen camped out over night.

Currently, demonstrators have effectively blocked the building from being used by the GOP-controlled Assembly.  Capital police did begin to forcefully remove protesters but at this moment, there is a shutdown of the building by demonstrators and police. Assembly members are not able to gain access to the building yet, and the Assembly must have the building open to the public in order to have votes.

At 11 am WI time, the Assembly was supposed to meet and presumably pass the bill. But they cannot at this time, even get into the building.

Please add your comments and thoughts below.

{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Rick Ward March 10, 2011 at 11:10 am

First,the legal status of the bill is yet to be determined.Has anyone noticed Carl Rove’s finger prints all over this?The same day Rove’s American Crossroads gets involved, these idiots panic and split the bill.Just like the original Bush tax cuts.


The Mustachioed OBecian March 10, 2011 at 12:43 pm

I’m not sure they broke the law, though Wisconsin legal scholars can more aptly tackle that one. The relevent part of the law states:

“Public notice of every meeting of a governmental body shall be given at least 24 hours prior to the commencement of such meeting unless for good cause such notice is impossible or impractical, in which case shorter notice may be given, but in no case may the notice be provided less than 2 hours in advance of the meeting.”

The Republicans reportedly met the 2-hour guideline.

I’m not sure why this bill will destroy the middle class in Wisconsin as has been suggested by many in the labor movement and of the left. Can someone speak to that beyond just platitudes? And why would this be a “win” for corporations? I thought we were talking about public, not private, unions. Any insight would be great. Thank you.


annagrace March 10, 2011 at 1:49 pm

Speaking “beyond platitudes?” This is about who has power, and how we get power and how we use power. The greatest obstacle to the right is the power of the unions. The right has the virtually limitless power of corporate money behind it, and that is corporate money being spent to privatize government functions, depress wages to the lowest level possible, outsource jobs, maximize corporate profits, and eliminate regulations.
Walker ‘s plan to eliminate collective bargaining AND require union re-certification every year AND require the union to directly collect dues instead of through payroll deductions AND only permit salary bargaining when a CPI trigger is met is a vehicle for rendering unions powerless.


The Mustachioed OBecian March 10, 2011 at 2:33 pm

Doesn’t the left also have a virtually limitless supply of corporate money as well, not to mention union money? What about the large segment of public employees who are forced to pay dues for which they don’t support? Should a conservative teacher necessarily pay dues knowing that his/her union will campaign against that for which they stand? Or that their performace is based upon tenor and not skill?


annagrace March 10, 2011 at 4:57 pm

93% of corporate spending in 2010 election went to Republicans. Of the top 10 contributors, three were unions. All public union members benefit from the negotiations and political efforts of the union. All those outraged individuals who don’t agree with the politics sure are happy to take the wages, benefits and working conditions. That is called hypocrisy.


The Mustachioed OBecian March 11, 2011 at 7:59 am

I checked out opensecrets which compiles campaign contributions by corporations/unions during elections. In the last 20 years, of the top 10 contributors, only 2 are evenly split in their donations amongst Republicans and Democrats, AT&T and National Association of Realtors. The other 8, including unions and Goldman Sachs, all heavily favored Democrats. So, yes, money flows freely into elections and campaigns. And it flows heavily in both directions. And yes, corporations, including the much-feared Wall Street, donate heavily to Democrats.

As for outraged individuals, what choice do they have if they want to work in the public sector? It’s difficult to avoid joining a union when your hand is forced.


RB March 11, 2011 at 8:04 am

It could be that all those outraged individuals don’t put a price on freedom and liberty. I favor a level and fair playing field for all elections through public financed elections and no special interest money.

Do you have a reference for the that 93% number?


annagrace March 11, 2011 at 8:47 am

“The Chamber of Commerce‘s donations in the last election cycle were 93 percent Republican, 93 percent. And nobody spent more than they did.” I haven’t crunched the numbers on the other 6 corporate contributors but here is the data/source Open


RB March 11, 2011 at 9:19 am

Yes, this how one group, the Chamber of Commerce, spends but you can’t say 93% of corporate money goes to Republicans. Large corporations hedge their donation by funding both parties. Please look at the corporate names on this list from the same site. They are split between both parties.


Rick Ward March 10, 2011 at 7:40 pm

To the obcian.The deal is the corporations can and do spend share holders money on the same politics as the unions do.And they don’t ask for permission either.So,if you want to choke off union money,you should also choke off corporate money. leveling the playing field.


JEC March 11, 2011 at 11:19 am

Rick – I agree with you – but haven’t things progressed beyond further attempts to level the playfield. How level will the field ever be when they own it. All of it. To me the risk of Wisconsin is the ultimate estrangement of a civil political process. According to my son and his friends, most young people don’t vote because they don’t believe balloting is honest. I worked our polls last November. I have to say there appears to be grounds.


RB March 11, 2011 at 12:39 pm

Corporations do well because they fund both parties. Union do poorly because they fund one party, which represents less than 40% of the voting public. Funding one party is good for the union leadership but of little value to union members.

The union model is broken. There is no more lifetime employment. People move from job to job and they are protected in the work place by the government and the threat of lawsuits. Forcing people to become members of a union is a product of another century. If the unions dropped the political sideshow and concentrated on pay, their membership would increase.


annagrace March 10, 2011 at 9:25 pm

Wisconsin Republicans are on their way to a fund raiser in DC hosted by a lobbying firm there. Says it all….


Frank Gormlie March 11, 2011 at 6:10 pm

Thanks annagrace for hanging in there and trying to straighten out those ‘tudes. Muchos gracias.


Rick Ward March 10, 2011 at 9:43 pm

You know those expletive deleteds will get all the money they can get just as the will try to change as many laws to thier bosses favor as they can.It will take 4 to 6 years to straighten this crap out.Obama ’12.


annagrace March 12, 2011 at 5:13 pm

And it is still not over. The Saturday March 12 protests attracted between 85-100,000, and included a tractorcade of farmers. Go Wisconsin! Go Madison!


Rick Ward March 14, 2011 at 5:21 am

Unions don’t have to worry about the bottom line or shareholders returns so they pick out pols who will back them. Not just buy the whole system.They can’t afford to buy both parties wholesale.They work for an hourly wage.


Leave a Comment

Older Article:

Newer Article: