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Wisconsin

The Takeaway

In New Poll, Americans Stand With Unions

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

According to a new New York Times/CBS News poll, most Americans support public sector workers in their fight against anti-union legislation in Wisconsin, Ohio and other parts of the country. According to the poll, 60 percent of Americans are opposed to weakening bargaining rights of public employee unions. Americans are surprisingly in favor of raising taxes instead of cutting benefits, and are opposed to weakening collective bargaining rights.

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The Takeaway

Rep. Gwen Moore on Planned Parenthood and Her Private Life

Monday, February 28, 2011

A little over a week ago, in the midst of the heated debates around our nation’s proposed federal budget cuts, Congresswoman Gwen Moore (D-WI) attracted national attention. After 240 of 241 House Republicans voted to strip Planned Parenthood of government funding, Moore spoke up. But rather than just explain that Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading provider of reproductive health care, she chose to tell her personal story of growing up as a poor, single, teenage mother. Congresswoman Moore joins us from Wisconsin to talk about her story and her thoughts on reproductive health funding.

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The Takeaway

Wisconsin: Unions, Education and the Budget

Monday, February 28, 2011

Over 70,000 people gathered in front of the capitol building in Madison, Wisconsin on Saturday — the largest crowd since the protests began — to continue decrying Governor Scott Walker's efforts to limit state laborers' collective bargaining rights. Part of the outcry has been that the changes were included in the state's budget bill. It seems highly likely that public workers will have to concede some ground on how much they contribute to pension benefits and health insurance premiums. But what economic effect would those cuts and the collective bargaining changes actually have on the budget or the state economy?

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WNYC News

Thousands Rally for Union Protections in Trenton

Saturday, February 26, 2011

More than 4,000 New Jersey public workers cheerfully sang "Solidarity Forever" despite a driving cold rain on Friday.

AFL-CIO National President Richard Trumka linked the current battle in Wisconsin over collective bargaining rights with what he said was Governor Chris Christie's combative approach to dealing with  New Jersey public employees.

"It's time to shake things up a little bit," bellowed Trumka. "You let them know that an attack against teachers or firefighters or nurses is an attack against all workers in New Jersey."

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The Takeaway

Wisconsin's Battle Continues Over Collective Bargaining

Friday, February 25, 2011

Senate Democrats are still hiding out in Illinois in an effort to stall a vote on a budget proposal that would restrict collective bargaining among public workers in Wisconsin. Police officers were sent to the homes of the absent Senators to make the point that it’s time to come home. And as the standoff continues between the two sides, the issue seems to be becoming more and more politically divisive within the state.

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WNYC News

Public Workers and Unions Rally in New York

Friday, February 25, 2011

Nearly a thousand public workers and their unions massed at lunch time in front of City Hall on Thursday in solidarity with public employees in Wisconsin and other states that face the prospects of layoffs and pension and benefit rollbacks.

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The Takeaway

Wisconsin: 11 Days at the Capitol

Friday, February 25, 2011

Rahul Mahajan, a member of the Teaching Assistants Association has been sleeping at the capitol for eleven days. He says he won't leave until a bill, which restricts collective bargaining rights, is defeated. He says that the bill takes away his right to even ask for a raise above cost of living adjustments and that it's almost a First Amendment issue.

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It's A Free Country ®

New Jersey's Dueling Rallies

Friday, February 25, 2011

There will be dueling rallies in Trenton on Friday, both connected to the rumble in Wisconsin. The New Jersey State AFL-CIO is expecting to bring out 4,000 to 5,000 people in solidarity with union members who are protesting Gov. Scott Walker's (R-WI) bill to strip away collective bargaining rights from most public sector unions.

Meanwhile, Americans for Prosperity, a coalition of Tea Party groups that calls itself the state's leading free market, grassroots organization (and has funding from the conservative Koch brothers) will stage a counter protest. AFP State director Steve Lonegan believes public sector unions have too much power and use it to negotiate luxurious benefits, to the detriment of tax payers who pay for them.

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The Takeaway

Government Shutdowns, Walkouts and Gridlock

Thursday, February 24, 2011

What do Wisconsin, Ohio and Indiana have in common? Each state has experienced the fleeing of lawmakers in order to stall legislation that they don't want to see passed. Is this an effective political tactic or an unprecedented form of gridlock? It seems that in these states the Democratic lawmakers are simply bucking their responsibilty to govern by using this stalling tactic. However, Andy Stern, Senior Fellow at the Georgetown Public Policy Institute and former President of the Service Workers International Union or SEIU. says that the opposite is true: that these laws require more discussion before they are rammed through.

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It's A Free Country ®

Wisconsin's Momentum Crosses State Lines

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

WNYC

Since Valentines Day, Wisconsin's capital has been inundated by protesters having their say about Gov. Scott Walker's controversial budget proposal. They aren't giving him much love.

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It's A Free Blog

If This is the New Normal...

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Tens of thousands of Americans gather in the streets of Madison, prompting solidarity rallies around the country as they defend the rights of workers. Big banks, having received record bailouts, continue predatory practices on regular Americans while seeing their own profits increase. The ultra-rich horde more and more of our nation’s wealth while convincing public servants to help decrease their tax burden. Is this the "new normal"?

It is, according to New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.

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WNYC News

City Unions Sending Reinforcements to Madison Protesters

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Public employee unions in New York City are mobilizing their members to travel to Wisconsin in a show of solidarity with the labor protests swelling in the state capital.

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It's A Free Country ®

Comments Roundup: Your Take on the Budget Battles

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

WNYC

Ever since Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's budget bill was revealed in Madison earlier this month, protesters have had their say. Now you have yours.

The bill limits the ability of public sector unions to collectively bargain, increases required health insurance and pension contributions from government workers, and grants authorities the right to terminate any employees who participate in strikes or walkouts during a governor-declared state of emergency.

Here's what you had to say about the protests in Wisconsin and the controversial cuts on the chopping block.

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It's A Free Country ®

What Does the Future Hold for U.S. Labor?

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

WNYC
Some people say that if Governor Walker gets his legislation through that would weaken public sector unions, it's inevitbale that the Republicans will also take some steps to weaken private sector unions.

Steven Greenhouse, New York Times labor and workplace correspondent, on the Brian Lehrer Show.

Comments [30]

It's A Free Country ®

As Wisconsin Bickering Continues, a Real Compromise Languishes

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

WNYC

Democrats in the legislature have literally abandoned their posts, and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has signaled he is not interested in any compromise whatsoever.

Doctors (who should lose their licenses for this) are giving hypocritical teachers fake doctor's notes so they can abandon their posts, left wingnuts are calling Walker a Nazi, right wingnuts are responding with their own brand of insanity and a whole hell of a lot of nothing but empty grandstanding is getting done.

And while the political hacks vie for air time on MSNBC and Fox News, a real compromise has been on the table this whole time, waiting for any major politician to take notice.

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It's A Free Blog

Why We Are All Wisconsin

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Tens of thousands of regular folks have been clogging the Wisconsin statehouse and the plazas around it for days. The duration and force of the protests have been surprising to many Americans, who are accustomed to our rallying culture resembling outdoor concerts on the Washington Mall. The scene out of Wisconsin is more spontaneous, less produced, more authentic, and therefore, more captivating. It less resembles Glenn Beck’s revival or Jon Stewart’s Rally to Restore Sanity and looks akin to another set of images we’ve seen recently — those out of the Middle East.

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The Takeaway

Wisconsin Senate to Convene Without Democrats

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

In a press conference held Monday evening, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker said that it was time to move forward on a budget repair bill currently stalled by the absence of the state’s fourteen Democratic state senators. The senators fled Wisconsin seven days ago in hopes of stalling a bill which, they say, hurts the middle and working class by stripping unions of the right to collectively bargain for benefits. With 19 seats, Republicans can pass the budget bill; without 20 sitting members, the Senate can't vote on spending measures.

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The Brian Lehrer Show

The Wisconsin Public Union Battle and the Future of U.S. Labor

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The budget battle in Wisconsin is putting public employee unions on the spot. Steven Greenhouse, New York Times labor and workplace correspondent and author of The Big Squeeze: Tough Times for the American Worker discusses what Wisconsin tells us about public vs. private unions and the future of collective bargaining.

Read a Recap and Join the Conversation at It's A Free Country

It's A Free Country ®

This Week: Budget Battles from Washington to Wisconsin

Monday, February 21, 2011

Union members would argue well, those benefits were hard won and those deals were made when wage incresases were not offered...so to help people understand it, this is like actually cutting pay...What Walker and others would say is that the reason this has to do with budgeting is that ...it gives governments more flexibility in doing the things they need to do to deal with their deficit problems and that they're hamstrung by collective bargaining. And without that flexibility, says Walker, you have to end up firing people instead of reshaping benefits, which makes them more draconian.

John Dickerson, chief political correspondent for Slate, on the Brian Lehrer Show.

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It's A Free Country ®

Timeline: What's Happening in Wisconsin?

Monday, February 21, 2011

A lot can happen in a week, especially in a state that's trying to balance its budget by asking for concessions from public employees. In the wake of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker's budget proposal, and the ensuing outrage from public sector unions still embroiling the capitol, here's a day-by-day breakdown of what's happening the state.

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