* It turns out that walkouts have been a relatively common occurrence in the Indiana House for the past 16 years by both parties..
– In 1995, Democrats staged a two-week walkout during the 1995 session until Republican leaders withdrew a surprise proposal to redraw legislative districts for the 1996 elections and reduce the 100-member House by one Democratic seat. Democrats won back the House majority in the 1996 election as Democrat Frank O’Bannon was elected governor.
– In 2001, outnumbered Republicans holed up for two days, refusing to take the floor in protest of new legislative districts drawn by Democrats. But Bosma and Democratic leaders agreed to some minor changes that were just enough to break the impasse. Democrats kept their slim majority in the 2002 election.
– In 2004, Republicans blocked action for a week by staying off the floor because then-Speaker Bauer refused to let a proposed constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage even be debated. Republicans won a 52-48 majority in the 2004 election that also saw Daniels win the governor’s office.
– In 2005, Democrats staged a one-day walkout that temporarily derailed a voter ID bill and other Daniels initiatives that later became law, leading to the governor lashing out at Bauer. Democrats regained House control in the 2006 election. [Emphasis added.]
Union workers and supporters ignored wintry weather Saturday as they rallied downtown to protest efforts by Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker to strip most public employees in that state of their collective bargaining rights.
The rally came as one of the 14 runaway Wisconsin senators said in an appearance at Operation PUSH Headquarters on the South Side that she and the other Democratic legislators won’t return home until the GOP governor agrees to negotiate on his plan to end collective bargaining for public workers.
“His agenda is wrong for Wisconsin, and we’re standing our ground,” Wisconsin State Sen. Lena Taylor said.
Organizers estimated about 2,000 people braved snow and cold winds to attend the rally outside the James R. Thompson Center. There were no arrests, police said.
For a second straight day, a Papa John’s pizza delivery man showed up with 20 pies that pranksters — not the Democrats — had ordered.
On Thursday, the Democrats each chipped in enough cash to buy the pizza anyway.
On Friday, Rep. Mara Candelaria Reardon, D-Munster, sent the delivery man away.
* Quinn hits GOP union ‘crusade’: “I think some of the animus against the unions, the public employee unions, is motivated by their political activities in the past, and I don’t think that is right,” Quinn told me. “I have had strong disagreements on policy with AFSCME. They did not support our public pension reform at all, nor did the teachers unions, both IEA and IFT, but we were able to get that done and signed into law and we worked with them on a variety of other issues. But clearly some of the other Republican governors are on an ideological crusade.”
* Largest crowds since Vietnam War march in Wisconsin: A crowd estimated at more than 70,000 people on Saturday waved American flags, sang the national anthem and called for the defeat of a Wisconsin plan to curb public sector unions that has galvanized opposition from the American labor movement.
* Union battle in the Midwest a pull for political power: “It’s very simple. Wealthy individuals and corporations can still give six-, seven-, eight-figure checks to all the candidates, state parties and causes they want to,” said Michael Fraioli, a Democratic strategist who works closely with organized labor. “If you take away unions and their ability to organize … you cut at the heart of our financial support.”
senator durbin has more important things to do. If he was so concerned about this issue he should have devoted his attention to wisconsin last fall. They had an election. Labor lost. Now it pays the price.
shore, the tea party folks were on the losing side of the 2008 election. That didn’t stop them from protesting, and even disrupting town hall meetings. Should those out of power just shut up and allow the majority to do whatever it wants? Wouldn’t that be horribly undemocratic?
- Living In Oklahoma - Monday, Feb 28, 11 @ 8:13 am:
I will be glad when this conniption fit in Wisconsin is over. I second Shore’s emotion on this one.
Without regard to the eventual outcome up in Wisconsin- the actions taken by Governor Walker will have a lasting positive impact on dealing with unsustainable public employee benefits- for years the issue has been ignored. The states can not afford to fund the promises alrady made absent restructuring all of these programs- Walker is taking the extreme approach but at least he is confronting the problem rather then passing it on to his successor/ Governor Quinn has taken a different approach- appeasing the public unions who are responsible for his election at the expense of the taxpayer
- Small Town Liberal - Monday, Feb 28, 11 @ 8:31 am:
- senator durbin has more important things to do. -
I’m sure Senator Durbin would love to take advice from you on how to properly use his time.
- Walker is taking the extreme approach but at least he is confronting the problem rather then passing it on to his successor -
Bull, the unions agreed to concessions. Walker and the rest of the GOP are simply trying to defund their competition.
And yet AFSCME in Illinois is pushing for 99% union dues, er I mean unization of IL after the final series of petitions are decided.
AFSCME currently runs the State of IL. There are not enough management people left to ensure workers are actually doing their job. And yet the legislature focuses only on legislative liasions with whom they have contact!
AFSCME shut donw a bill which would have allowed there to be some minimial amount of non union supervosrs and managers, and the general assembly backed down. The State of IL cannot continue to function with being run by the Union. If AFSCME and te General assmebly donot legislate some framework for a real management sturcture, IL may tip itself over the edge.
I think the State benefits from a balanced union management relationship…But IL no longer has that balance.
Wisconsin is now considered a battleground state in 2012. The teachers’ union is a key component and contributor for President Obama. Collective bargaining and health and pension contributions are on center stage now, but 2012 (electoral votes) is what the whole fight is really about.
This may take some time to sort out. Maybe several more weeks.
Given Scott Walker’s record as the Milwaukee County Executive, an office in which he made similar tough decisions regarding the budget (i.e. closing county parks or reducing employees at county golf courses to balance the budget), it should have come as no surprise that he was going to risk similar decisions as govenor.
Scott Walker is just the typical GOP type. While running for office talk reduced government and lower taxes, when in office attack on the social issues they have always been against. The Unions are the problem DeJour and they’ii get to others as time permits. The same ones who now yell, we won so we make the rules had a problem with that concept after Obama’s win. I have always tuned out those who want to say ” America love it or leave it”. They forget the other option that makes this country what it is. Get enough folks on your side and change things.
The unions are facing this same assault in plenty of blue states, including New York. Even Mayor Emanuel is talking about renegotiating union agreements. But the unions aren’t protesting against Governor Cuomo or Rahm. They can’t
Hence, they have to direct that wrath at Wisconsin.
Dick Durbin lecturing us on Wisconsin’s fiscal responsibility is akin to Bernie Madoff teaching us about marketplace ethics.
Senator Durbin you have the largest gaping deficit in history. 60% of government spending goes to entitlements. And you haven’t offered a credible solution to the problem.
Senator, heal thyself.
- Holdingontomywallet - Monday, Feb 28, 11 @ 10:08 am:
I believe walkouts are a bad idea for either party. It may not be a bad thing for a couple of days to “step back” and re-evaluate an issue or to solidify your party’s dissent, but it is too disruptive in the long run. The delay has allowed outside groups to mobilize and try to influence a decision that should be a state issue. Debate the issue, take a vote and move on. If you don’t like the result, make your voice heard in the next election. But hey, I hear the hotel business in Wisconsin is booming - they have that going for them…
I wonder if those criticizing the boycotting legislators apply the same standard when Republican legislators boycott to prevent votes they know they’d lose, such as the ones in Indiana in 2001 and 2004? I must be naive to expect a single standard instead a partisan double standard.
Ghost, the problem isn’t AFSCME “pushing”. The problem is the result of the way the Blagojevich and Quinn administration has treated merit comp workers, who are the ones pushing to join the unions simply because they are tired of no pay raises in the last 8 years, capped by furlough days. The ones can’t be unionized are not being replaced when they leave, and will not be replaced because no unionized employee will take the “promotion” because none of them trust the administration. Which means the remaining merit comp employees have to do more for less.
This “evangelical” rigidity that is demonstrated by Walker and the T-baggers is what is anti-democratic. I”m baffled by the argument that because Walker refuses to compromise, Dems should just give in and go back. Dems/unions have already met Walker more than half-way, but Walker wants to crush the unions; why surrender?
For me and for a lot of people this whole PEU issue would be far less troubling if, in certain states, certain job titles and especially teachers and other licensed and professional types were not forced to join the union, and also were not forced to pay dues which are automatically collected out of their paychecks by the state government and passed on to the union’s coffers. It seems to many of us that if the union is providing obvious service and support and value to its members, then workers would be willing, even eager to join and pay their dues directly to the union while getting the state (as middleman) out of the picture. The union HQ should bear the burden and costs of the dues collection process, not the taxpayer. If the dues were to be slow in coming in it would give the union officials an opportunity to discern why, and assess whether perhaps some of their practices and policies needed to be altered to better align with members’ actual needs — rather than the honchos’ needs. To most Americans this does not sound like union busting. It sounds like common sense and the way we, ourselves, as individuals would wish to be treated.
The same bill which prompts one person’s accusation of Walker trying to “defund the competition” to another person means finally having the freedom of choice to practice their profession while having the choice to belong to a union or not.
- Holdingontomywallet - Monday, Feb 28, 11 @ 11:00 am:
PR - In some cases, the union employees will not accept the “promotion” because it would amount to a pay cut. Some of the union employees are making more than their supervisors and accepting a promotion would also result in lost benefits (compensation time and overtime). I am not blaming the union employees here, just stating reality. It is a shame too, many of the union employees who have been in the system and worked their way up would make good managers, but why take those positions and lose pay and/or benefits?
I’m having difficulty seeing that “tough” decision making by Walker.
Tough decision making requires hammering out a fair agreement with people who don’t want to negotiate. This is nothing but an authoritarian grandstanding…
And I sincerely doubt any long term positive outcome for WI. Walker’s decisions are going to be reversed if the democratic process is to continue. At best, it’s waste of time, at worst some pillars of the Republic fall. Where it that positive stuff? Budget is balanced? It was balanced anyway… So, what gives?
Anyway, Walker’s objective has nothing to do with the future of WI. He simply wants his party to have easier time to get elected. GOP discovered in the last election that they are going to have really hard time matching Dems dollars in the presidential election year. Cutting out unions in the blue or purple states is the major objective for them. And that is all there is to it.
And as to blaming Quinn - he wasn’t elected on the platform of dealing with the pensions. He was elected as an antidote to that other nut. So, why suddenly expectations that he didn’t agree to meet in the first place?
The masks fell. Everyone is now officially aware of the incestuous relationships between the Democratic Party and public employees union leaders. We now see a money trail directly from taxpayers to the Party via public worker salaries and mandatory union fees. The battle lines have been drawn - taxpayers versus government unions.
Shut down government verses cheaper government..
Bad move. It is a clear loser. If not now, then later.
In politics you need good facades to sell yourself. Unions had one then let it crumble this month. The masks fell.
- Small Town Liberal - Monday, Feb 28, 11 @ 11:29 am:
- Everyone is now officially aware of the incestuous relationships between the Democratic Party and public employees union leaders. -
If it’s the incestuous relationship between the Democrats and unions vs. the Republicans and Wall Street/Big Business, I know which side I’ll be on.
You pick your battles. Wisconsin was the wrong one.
All this should have been handled behind closed doors because that was the union’s strength. Here, they could have taken the temporary hit and wait it out. That way they could have figured out a better line of attack.
Strikes are so totally Boomer. This is 2010, not 1972.
Play your cards close. Do not let the public see the official money trail. The Democrats needed to keep it quiet. By striking they let it all hang out and lost their cover. Now they are going to lose. Publically.
I’m going to go on record as saying that one of the most boneheaded political PR moves I’ve ever seen–and one that I think totally backfired–was the decision of the Democratic Representatives to dress in their identical orange cotton T shirts on the floor of the WI chamber. The night the vote was taken (after a mere 60 hours of debate) and the intertubes were awash with video of them angrily raising fists and shouting “shame, shame”, many citizens were stunned at the spectacle. These elected officials did not even attempt to pretend to the nation that they were being thoughtful legislators making decisions and placing votes solely based on the best interests of their own individual districts. Instead, because of their attire they came across as being a sponsored little league team.
The problem is not who the supposed relationship is with, the problem is now that the supposed relationship is no longer supposed. You can not expose a supposed relationship but you can when the parties to the relatioship expose themselves, as has happened here.
Once exposed, both parties to the relationship lose.
By drawing a line in Wisconsin and having the State Democrats collapse all over themselves in support, the permanent branding was completed. It needed to be seen as bipartisan.
If Sen. Durbin is such a big proponent of public sector unions and their ability to bargain collectively maybe he should sponsor a senate bill to scrap up GS system and allow federal workers to form a union.
Listen to Walker’s fawning conversation w/ the faux-Koch and then tell me what is more frightening…I’m much more comfortable w/ the fact the Dems are affiliated w/ workers v. Reps carrying water for Kochs et al. The claim about “taxpayer money” is a red herring compared to the damage done by deregulation of industries owned by Koch, etc.
**By drawing a line in Wisconsin and having the State Democrats collapse all over themselves in support, the permanent branding was completed. It needed to be seen as bipartisan.**
Funny… 4 Republicans voted against the union-busting bill in the WI Assembly, and now 1 Republican Senator has said that he is going to vote against it. That looks to me to be much more bipartisan than the support that Walker has.
“FedUpAlready - Yes, taxpayer dollars never go to big business…though I do remember some mention of a bailout.”
Yes, there was a huge taxpayer funded bailout , though according to Obama it has been paid back (if you believe him). Is that supposed to justify direct taxpayer funding of the relationship between PE unions and Democrats? Here’s a hint: it doesn’t. The conflict of interest between PE unions and the political officials they elect to negotiate their future contracts has been exposed to the taxpayers who have to foot the bill. The days of government unions are coming to an end.
Rich, I’d like to comment on your comparison of the tea party to the unions. First, no one is is saying either the tea party or the unions shouldn’t be able to protest. I, at least, have no problem with protests…as you mention, it’s part of democracy.
Walking out of the democracy when your side loses is NOT democracy. These legislators not only are not reporting for work, they left state lines so that that the democratic process would get shut down. That’s a far cry from what the tea party did. They protested, but the health care bill still passed. Then, via the democratic process, the Dem’s were punished in 2010.
The unions and anyone else is free to protest, but shutting down democracy is a different thing. A filibuster is a legislative tactic…leaving the state so the law can’t catch up to you is a bit more then that.
In the end, I’m not even going to knock (too hard) those legislators who ran…I think some are cowards who are trying to retain power (and are dependent on unions for it), but certainly some are following their principles. If they are willing to break the law and leave state lines such that the law of Wisconsin can’t catch up to them…well, that’s their call. I hope they pay a price. If I hadn’t shown up for work I would have gotten fired.
I went off a bit on a tangent, but my basic point is there is a world of difference between tea party types protesting within a democracy, and legislators leaving the state to escape the law and thereby shutting down the democratic process of WI altogether. Elections have consequences, and putting yourself above the law should not be an answer.
–Elections have consequences, and putting yourself above the law should not be an answer.–
What law is that?
But speaking of law and order, serving all the people in good faith and living up to your oath of office, (not to mention the importance of gray matter between the ears), let’s consider this statesmanlike exchange between Gov. Walker and the (fake) David Koch (there’s that intelligence thing), regarding introducing “troublemakers” into crowds in Madison exercising their First Amendment rights to assemble peaceably and petition their government for a redress of grievances:
–Fake Koch: Right, right. Well, we’ll back you any way we can. But, uh, what we were thinking about the crowds was, uh, was planting some troublemakers.
Walker: You know, the, well, the only problem with that — because we thought about that. The problem — the, my only gut reaction to that is right now the lawmakers I’ve talked to have just completely had it with them, the public is not really fond of this. The teachers union did some polling of focus groups, I think, and found out that the public turned on ’em the minute they closed school down for a couple days. The guys we’ve got left are largely from out of state, and I keep dismissing it in all my press conferences saying, ‘Eh, they’re mostly from out of state.’ My only fear would be is if there was a ruckus caused is that that would scare the public into thinking maybe the governor has gotta settle to avoid all these problems.–
So the only problem, after consideration, that a governor in the United States has with introducing “troublemakers” into a peaceable assembly to cause a “ruckus” is that it would undermine his political position.
Sorry, Pat Brady. With Gov. Walker, the Koch Bros. and the Fitzgerald Caudillos, la republica de banana esta del norte.
Certainly these are difficult times and many livlihoods are at stake. Unfortunately, we are fighting amongst ourselves when our true ire should go towards the elected officials that have allowed this to happen.
I laugh when everyone talks about these pension benefits, etc. Last time I checked, I pay my part for my pension. As far as I am concerned big business and everyone in Illinois has been given an interest free loan by not making the required payments. Check the facts, but public pensions save money relative to Social Security.
Finally, if my memory serves me correctly, I believe that our union fights through history have led to decent wages and working conditions. I work hard and deserve every penny I earn, and my boss would tell you I am worth it; meanwhile I do not want to go back to 12 hour days and 6 day work weeks.
I understand the concerns, but the top 5% controls how much of the wealth in this country?…and I am supposed to feel sorry for business?
Now an overhaul of welfare and entitlements is certainly in order…but giving all the power in labor to one side, sorry I can not allow it.