Wisconsin police hunt down Democratic senators over union-busting bill [UPDATES]

Categories: Weird Wisconsin

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Photo: Mark Riechers/Flickr
Democrats abandon ship in Madison.
Republican Gov. Scott Walker wants to strip public employee unions of their collective bargaining rights, and he's threatened to call out the Wisconsin National Guard on public employee union members if they go on strike.

And now, the Republican President of the Wisconsin Senate has ordered state troopers to hunt down Democratic state senators so that he can force a vote on his union-busting bill.

The lawmakers have refused to take part in the vote, stymying Walker and the majority GOP. More than 10,000 demonstrators flooded the Wisconsin Assembly yesterday to oppose the measure.

It's hard to believe that all this is happening in the birthplace of the first national union to represent public employees.

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Photo: Mark Reichers/Flickr
Protesters jammed Madison.
But Wisconsin faces a $2.9 billion budget deficit for 2012 and 2013, and Walker says he needs to play hardball. Part of the way he's doing that is by trying to neuter the public employee unions -- with the exception of poise and firefighters -- so he can wring more concessions from them.

"I'm just trying to balance my budget," Walker told The New York Times. "To those who say why didn't I negotiate on this? I don't have anything to negotiate with. We don't have anything to give. Like practically every other state in the country, we're broke. And it's time to pay up."

They've been doing that already. State employee unions made $100 million in concessions in December to ease the budgetary strain, Reuters reported.

The stink over Walker's tactics have percolated all the way to the White House. President Barack Obama was asked what he thought today about the battle in Madison.

"I would say, as a general proposition, that everybody's gotta make some adjustments to new fiscal realities," he said. But:

Some of what I've heard coming out of Wisconsin -- where you're just making it harder for public employees to collectively bargain, generally -- seems like more of an assault on unions.

The measure was supposed to be up for a vote this morning, with the Capitol wrapped in its fourth day of protests. When it became clear that Senate Democrats had lit out for the territories, Republican Senate President Mike Ellis announced a "call of the house" to send police after them.

UPDATE: One of the missing senators says that he and his colleagues have left the state:

"The plan is to try and slow this down because it's an extreme piece of legislation that's tearing this state apart," Sen. Jon Erpenbach said in a telephone interview. He refused to say where he was.

UPDATE: Walker takes to the Twitterverse:

Senate Democrats should show up to work - like other WI taxpayers did today.less than a minute ago via HootSuite

Related: Wisconsin will call out National Guard against striking state workers



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10 comments
Paul Kruger
Paul Kruger

Two parts of this clearly expose Walker for the corporate stooge he really is.

Unions have already agreed to cuts but Walker refused to talk with them which itself is illegal because until his anti-worker law is passed he has to obey the current collective bargaining law. This tells me he is not really in this to save money but to destroy a part of the Democratic base of voters and disenfranchise even more of Wisconsin's middle class workers.

If he really had a budget crisis why did he push for and get a big corporate tax cut at the same time he is crying the state did not have enough money?

Both of these play directly into the desires of wealthy corporate interests as a way to further the attack on the middle class.

I support the Wisconsin 14 and consider them heroes for the average middle class workers all across America. Tomorrow I will have a site online just for them. www.wisconsin14.us

Dave2
Dave2

How can Walker hunt down and bring the Dem Senators into the Senate? He either has to have them arrested and charged with (what?) something, or he has to have them kidnapped. If you don't show up for work can your boss bring you forcefully in? Why then Democrat senators? Walker has fallen into the cesspool on this issue. This is a fight for union rights and nothing else; the Wisconsin budget is not the issue. If Walker doesn't pull himself out of this self-made sewer, he, and the entire Wisconsin Assemly, will have stink written all over them. He'd be better off to bow out on this bill now while he still has somewhat of a political future. And, the RNC, if they are smart, will softly close the door too, lest the giant wakes up on a national scale.

txliberal
txliberal

I never thought I'd see the day that we would have to go to such lengths to protect our rights in our country. But when it is about politics and not about the crisis, so be it.

I'm glad the congressmembers took the initiative to get done what needs to be done. It is for personal freedoms in the workplace, not about the critical budget procedure.

Allright, Wisconsin! Hang in there! Walk like an Egyptian.

Kirk the Conservative Jerk
Kirk the Conservative Jerk

The National Guard is to be brought in to DO THE JOBS the union members walked away from, not to crack the heads of protesters. Those essential positions walked away from! We're here to serve the people. Yah right! Serve themselves more like it.

Watch people, in days to come you will see, that the poeple whom are proposing the National Guard is there to enforce a police state, are just that; liars. Dont' doubt me!

discordianstooge
discordianstooge

Round 'em up with the state police? Bring in the National Guard? Yeah, it's liberals who are the fascists *eyeroll*

Kirk the Conservative Jerk
Kirk the Conservative Jerk

See people, these people don't like democracy. The Wisconsin's Democrat State Senators have left the scene. The protesters have invaded the Senate Chambers and are shouting down the remaining Republican State Senators. Major interference with the democratic process going on here. I thought it was about the democratic process.A day of bussed in rage going on here. Teachers walking off their jobs. I thought it was "all about the children". Just teacher greed I guess.Comparing the Governor to Hitler. His picture with crosshairs on his head. Reload and regroup. Have you seen the signs in the protest in Madison? Where is the liberal call for civility?Where is the media's call for civility?One way I guess....

Dangrese
Dangrese

The Democrats are doing their "job." Slowing this down so that the populus has time to think and react is a poliical action. It takes conviction to do what they are doing.

Kirk the Conservative Jerk
Kirk the Conservative Jerk

When you say: "We've had it!" You must be talking about "had your way with the publics money" for way to long. A slow and steady conning of the public to fund you retirement plans? A slow and steady conning of the public to fund you healthcare plans? You had to realize easy streat would eventually end right? Welcome to the real world!

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