American Morning

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February 18th, 2011
07:49 AM ET

State senators spar over Wisconsin bill

Wisconsin governor Scott Walker is pushing a new bill which, if passed, would take away teachers' unions' collective bargaining rights and would require that teachers contribute more to their pensions. Republicans are saying tightening the state's belt is necessary in the current economic crisis but Democrats say the bill is a drastic action that would ruin unions. Meanwhile, Democratic state senators have left the state in an effort to stall the vote on the bill.

We're getting both sides of the story from Wisconsin State Senators Jon Erpenbach (D), who's in Chicago, and Glenn Grothman (R) this morning.

Filed under: Politics
soundoff (9 Responses)
  1. Teresa Meyer

    I noticed your report on New York teachers being able to negotiate their contract but there is no comparsion between in what is going on with Wisconsin. The Wisconsin Governor wants to take away collective bargaining rights!!!! Union will always sit at the table and discuss their contract but they will not give up their collective bargaining rights. This threat is in the states where Republicans are Governors. You are not reporting on the entire subject line and all your doing is misinforming the public. Your responsible for educating the public and your not doing your job.

    February 21, 2011 at 7:53 am |
  2. kjfun

    Hi, I live in Green Bay, WI. I have personally met Scott Walker. I don't know any other politician that I have met that I hold up as high a respect as Scott Walker. I talked to him for 20 minutes at a rally and he looked me in the eyes as he talked and said he is here for the "tax payers and workers" of Wisconsin.
    Scott said liberals have outspent any other administration in the past (Doyle)8 years than ever before. The state is broke. We have no more money to waist! We must reduce the deficit now and create more "actual" jobs.
    Not quoting Scott: Teachers here are leaving schools asking superintendents to close down schools so they can go to Madison!Yes they have the gull to say "it is about the children"!!! They couldn't be any further from the truth! These people are selfish and ignorant!
    I am not a state worker but my wife does work for a school district.I am a tax payer and they DO NOT represent me or anyone (other than teachers) that I know.
    My wife is support staff and was worried about the changes to benefits but i explained to her that it is this or lose your job. This is reality in the normal work sector with the economy the way it is. She is happy that she will have an option to opt out of the Union.
    Believe me when I say that the MAJORITY of workers in Wisconsin support Scott Walker and this bill!!! We do not support the Unions selfish view of this!

    February 18, 2011 at 10:07 am |
  3. AngryMobVoter

    This whole situation in Wisconsin is ridiculous! It is time for the American people to take our government back. Public employees get paid far more than private employees and the gap is even bigger in benefits. Every democrat who ran across state lines to avoid a vote should be voted out of office and we should all remember who they are and NEVER vote for them.

    I am tired of paying taxes so government workers can get salaries and benefits far beyond what I get in the private sector. Our government is dysfunctional, inefficient, and to big. It is our huge, dysfunctional, and wasteful government that is holding back our economy and job growth.

    Our representatives have a sense of entitlement that must be eliminated. If a law applies to the American People, it should apply to our elected officials and that includes things like social security, pension, and healthcare.

    Obama should keep his nose out of this situation. Again Obama is going against the will of the people.

    We must continue to VOTE THEM OUT!!!

    February 18, 2011 at 9:46 am |
  4. Jim Kiely

    Democrats did not "flee" the state, though it's not surprising that the significantly conservative American press would use that word. Democrats exercised the only option at their disposal to prevent a piece of disastrous legislation from being rammed through by Republicans intent on gutting the worker right to collective bargaining. Need one ask on which side a vast portion of our press would have been on had the events of Egypt occurred in the United States?

    February 18, 2011 at 8:58 am |
  5. Rich Crippen

    I still dont understand how it is leagal for elected officials to get together and not show up to work ( a scheduled vote ). I any other group of government employees decide they dont like an assigned task and refuse to show up to do it there would be hell to pay. How are these people any different and why are they not being prosecuted.

    February 18, 2011 at 8:45 am |
  6. Dot On the Spot in Madison

    So, let me get this straight –

    Our Bill of Rights is really a Bill of "Privileges"?

    retired Wisconsin teacher

    February 18, 2011 at 8:44 am |
  7. Scott

    So lets see, the unions have gotten weaker and weaker here in the U.S....our economy has tanked, our trade imbalance is massive, we have huge unemployment and much of our manufaturing and production have gone overseas, and we are told that that is the way it has to be to stay competative.

    Meanwhile, Germany has lower unemployment, their trade surplus is one of the largest, and they have laws that prevent a large amount of pruduction and manufactering from going overseas and their economy is humming along.

    So while it's true that some unions overeached in the past, without them all the CEO's and the boards care about is stock price, not profits or production and least of all employees, if they have to send every single job overseas to make sure that their stock package is valuable and fire every single American worker, they will do it.

    February 18, 2011 at 8:39 am |
  8. R Hoover

    The Rep Grothman even looks like he is guilty. He knows this is wrong dodging questions about busting the union. This is a conspiracy to bust the union. No doubt in anybody's mine. Has nothing to do with money. Its all about Rep and Dem . How sad.

    February 18, 2011 at 8:07 am |
  9. Tori

    You are reporting in this all wrong, I belong to a union, I pay into my health insurance and retirement. This is about our rights and union members...STOP making ir sound like we are money hungry because it'a not about money. It's about the republican take down of unions because they stand in their way

    February 18, 2011 at 8:05 am |