Politics

Forgetting Budget Rhetoric, WI Senate GOP Leader Brags: We’ve Busted Unions ‘Once And For All’

With its union-busting “budget repair bill” tied up in court and as many as eight recall campaigns looming, the Wisconsin state GOP has apparently abandoned its argument that the fight to end collective bargaining rights was just about closing the state’s budget gap.

State Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R) has already revealed that the true motivation behind the bill was to defund unions to make it “much more difficult” for Democrats, including President Obama, to get elected in Wisconsin. Now, attempting to fend off efforts to recall eight of his Senate colleagues, he’s mailed out a fundraising letter that removes any doubt about the GOP’s motive:

“(Unions have) ruined California and Illinois, but they’re not going to ruin Wisconsin.

That is because Republicans faced down Big Labor’s bully tactics and a Democratic walk-out in the state Senate to break the power of unions like WEAC and AFSCME once and for all,” Fitzgerald said in his letter.

Fitzgerald’s letter is in stark contrast from his all-about-the-budget rhetoric after the bill passed, when he said, “Today’s passage is a momentous step toward getting our state’s fiscal house in order.”

Fitzgerald, however, isn’t alone. In Ohio, where the state senate is expected to vote on a similar union-busting bill tomorrow, state Rep. Joe Uecker (R) made it clear that the bill isn’t merely about the budget, but about “set[ting] the framework” for further anti-union efforts.

Oklahoma has now also joined the list of states considering anti-union legislation. The state Senate passed a bill through committee Monday that would repeal a 2004 law that guaranteed collective bargaining rights for municipal employees in cities with more than 35,000 residents. If the bill passes, 13 cities could collectively bargain with unions but would no longer be required to do so.