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Tea Party to rally for Wisconsin anti-union bill

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/41664858/ns/us_news-life/

and all the other union folk are trash.....:laughing:

Just sad..........


MADISON, Wis. — With Republican state lawmakers stymied over plans to pass an anti-union bill, and Gov. Scott Walker saying he would not compromise, Tea Party activists joined in the controversy by organizing a rally Saturday in support of the legislation.

Drew Ryun, president of American Majority Action, one of the conservative groups planning the demonstration, said organizers were "meeting fire with fire."

What's at stake in Wisconsin

What bill would do
1) Eliminate collective bargaining rights for most public workers. So while unions still could represent those workers, they would not be able to seek pay increases above those pegged to the Consumer Price Index unless approved by a public referendum.

2) Unions also could not force employees to pay dues and would have to hold annual votes to stay organized.

3) Local police, firefighters and state troopers would retain their collective bargaining rights.

4) Public workers would have to pay half the costs of their pensions and at least 12.6 percent of their health care coverage. That represents an average of 8 percent increase in state employees' share of pension and health care costs.

In exchange, public employees were promised no furloughs or layoffs. Gov. Scott Walker has threatened to lay off up to 6,000 state workers if the measure does not pass.

Estimated savings
$30 million by July 1 and $300 million over the next two years to address a Republican-projected $3.6 billion budget shortfall.

Background
The proposal marks a dramatic shift for Wisconsin, which in 1959 was the first to pass a comprehensive collective bargaining law for public employees and was the birthplace of the national union representing all non-federal public employees.

When voters last year elected Gov. Walker, an outspoken conservative, along with GOP majorities in both legislative chambers, it set the stage for a dramatic reversal of the state's labor history.

National significance
New Republican governors and legislatures in other states have proposed cutting back on public employee costs to reduce budget shortfalls, but Wisconsin's move appears to be the earliest and most extensive.

Source: Associated Press and Reuters
."We have buses coming in from all over the state," Ryun said of what was dubbed the "I Stand With Scott Walker" rally. "We see this as the opening salvo of the 2012 election season. The Tea Party movement facing off against the unions. And we like the odds."

Walker on Friday ruled out a compromise proposed by a key union to retain collective bargaining rights in exchange for public workers accepting benefit cuts.

At a press conference, Walker said he could not consider the offer by the largest state workers union because it only covered some public employees and came late in the process.

Walker and other Republicans have been trying to pass a controversial bill that would end a half-century of collective bargaining for most public workers in Wisconsin.

Opponents of the bill staged their largest rally so far on Friday. Police estimated some 40,000 attended, exceeding Thursday's 25,000.

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State Senate Democrats said they would stay away for days or even weeks, while Republican efforts to pass the bill in the state Assembly also faced obstacles.

The legislation appeared to be stalled until at least next week.

Across the rotunda in the state Assembly, Republicans aborted an attempt to hold a final vote on the bill without Democrats, who had been in a closed caucus meeting. Democrats sprinted into the chamber yelling to stop the vote, and the GOP leadership retreated. Lawmakers then adjourned until Tuesday.

Republicans had warned since last year's campaign that they would seek major concessions from unions. But for lawmakers in the minority, "The only other option we had to slow things down was to leave."

State Sen. Jon Erpenbach said the decision to flee happened on the spur of the moment as Democrats gathered near the Capitol for a regular strategy meeting Thursday morning.

An hour later, he threw a few travel essentials — a toothbrush, razor and some clothes — into a duffel bag and a backpack. He took just two or three minutes to pack, and jumped in a car for a prearranged meeting at a hotel in Rockford, Ill., just south of the Wisconsin border.

The lawmakers were concerned that police could have detained them, even though the Wisconsin Constitution prohibits the arrest of state lawmakers while the Legislature is in session, except in cases of felonies, breaches of the peace or treason.

"We knew their jurisdiction ends at the state line, and that's why we came to Illinois," Erpenbach said.

From Rockford, the legislators headed in different directions, most of them traveling to the Chicago area or to other parts of northern Illinois, Erpenbach said.

Since leaving Wisconsin, he said he had not spoken to any of his Republican counterparts.


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Students, teachers and prison guards have turned out at the Capitol this week to protest, standing shoulder-to-shoulder in the building's hallways, sitting cross-legged across the floor and making it difficult to move from room to room. Some have brought along sleeping bags and stayed through the night.

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In a sign that the commotion might be causing other problems for the governor, he pushed back the release of his two-year budget plan by one week, to March 1.

The governor insists the concessions he is seeking from public workers — including higher health insurance and pension contributions — are necessary to deal with the state's projected $3.6 billion budget shortfall and to avoid layoffs.

Eliminating their collective bargaining rights, except over wage increases not greater than the Consumer Price Index, is necessary in order to give the state and local governments and schools the flexibility needed to deal with upcoming cuts in state aid, Walker said.

Those arguments don't wash with Democrats who say the fight is really about political power and quashing the unions, whose members are longtime supporters of Democrats.

The protests are growing so large that Capitol workers cannot safely move through the halls, Republican Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald said, calling the situation "a powder keg."

Republican support for the bill remains strong, he added. "If anything, what's going on around this building is galvanizing this caucus," Fitzgerald said"
 
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