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Entries in Collective Bagaining Rights (7)

Tuesday
Nov152011

Dems Launch Bid to Recall Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(MADISON, Wis.) -- Days after Ohio voters rolled back a law curbing collective bargaining rights, Democrats in Wisconsin plan to combat a similar law by recalling Gov. Scott Walker.

Since Wisconsin state law does not allow recall petitions for laws passed by the state legislature -- as was done in Ohio -- voters who are up in arms about legislation passed earlier this year that eliminates public employee’s rights to collective bargaining are attempting to collect the 540,000 signatures necessary to force their governor into a recall election.

Walker pushed the legislation through the Republican-controlled legislature this spring in a attempt to fill a $3.6 billion budget shortfall.  Hundreds of protesters filled the Wisconsin state capitol to oppose the legislation, which Walker said would allow state and local governments the freedom to make necessary budget cuts.

More than 100 events are planned across the state Tuesday to kick-start the 60-day drive for the more than half a million signatures necessary to put a Democratic candidate for governor on the ballot in 2012.  If organizers are successful in recalling Walker, it would be the first time in state history that a governor has been recalled.

Nationwide, only two governors have ever been successfully recalled, in North Dakota in 1921 and in California in 2003.

Wisconsin voters have already recalled two Republican Senators who supported the legislation and hope to do the same to Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefsich and at least three more GOP state Senators.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Nov092011

Election Day 2011 Recap: Democrats Score Big Wins

Hemera/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Democrats scored major victories in Tuesday’s election as two controversial GOP-backed measures -- the “personhood” initiative in Mississippi and changes to collective bargaining rights by unions in Ohio -- were defeated by voters.

“Voters don’t seem particularly interested in ideological battles that have little impact on their core concerns about fixing the economy and creating jobs,” said ABC News’ political director Amy Walter.  “Democrats will also argue that talk of anemic support from their base, especially in the key battleground state of Ohio, has been overstated.”

The “personhood” measure in Mississippi was an ambiguously worded citizen-led initiative that defined human life as starting at “the moment of fertilization, cloning or the functional equivalent thereof.”  The measure would’ve restricted certain birth control methods and in-vitro fertilization treatment, and would’ve banned all abortion.  

Meanwhile in Ohio, labor groups won a surprising victory and defeated a ballot measure that attempted to cut back collective bargaining rights for union workers.

Issue 2 would’ve eliminated public employees’ rights to collectively bargain for health insurance and pensions, barred them from striking -- workers would’ve paid a price from their paycheck if they did so -- and curbed promotions based on seniority.  It would’ve also increased health care costs for workers.  Employees would have had to pay at least 15 percent of their health care premiums and allocate 10 percent of their salary for pensions.

Here are other results from Tuesday's elections:

Voting Rights:

-- As Mississippi passed a new law that would require voters to submit a government-sponsored photo ID before being allowed to vote, voters in Maine overwhelmingly voted against a ballot initiative -- Question 1 -- that would’ve required new voters to register to vote at least two business days prior to an election.  Under current law, voters can register on voting day.  Liberals had blasted the measure as an infringement on voters’ rights.

Gubernatorial Races:

-- In Mississippi, Republicans kept the gubernatorial seat.  Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant defeated Johnny DuPree, mayor of Hattiesburg.  Haley Barbour, Mississippi’s current governor, was barred from running again under the state’s term limit laws.

-- Democrats kept the governor’s seat in Kentucky, where incumbent Steve Beshear was vying for a second term.  In a state where President Obama’s popularity has plunged, Beshear’s win over rival David Williams is a boon to Democrats, who lost multiple states to Republicans last year and, in Kentucky, lost to unconventional candidates such as Rand Paul, who won a Senate seat in 2010.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Nov082011

Ohio Voters Repeal Collective Bargaining Rights Law

Hemera/Thinkstock(COLUMBUS, Ohio) -- Voters in Ohio have handed a victory to public employees after repealing a collective bargaining law that limits union rights.

The law, supported by Republican Gov. John Kasich, would have banned public employee strikes and required higher contributions for health care and pensions. It would have also eliminated seniority-based promotions.

Despite Kasich's appeal to the public that the law was needed to save the state money, voters sided with union leaders, who said the law was a threat to public safety and middle-class workers.

In another key issue facing Ohioans, voters approved a ballot measure Tuesday night that exempts citizens from any national health reform mandate. However, officials say the vote could be invalidated by a U.S. Supreme Court decision.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Aug052011

Nearly $30 Million Being Spent to Influence Recall Elections in Wisconsin

Scott Olson/Getty Images(MILWAUKEE) -- Months have passed since protests snarled the Wisconsin state capital and a collective bargaining argument shut down the state government. But the anger has not died away, and legislators from both parties face recall elections.

Though it sounds like a local Wisconsin issue, both sides say this is a major bellwether for 2012. The real ringer is that a staggering amount of money -- nearly $30 million -- is being spent by outside interest groups to influence the recall elections.

This month, voters will go to the polls to either keep or replace their state senators. On Tuesday, six incumbent Republicans are facing recall and the possibility that the chamber flips control from the Republicans to Democrats. The following week, two Democrats are also facing recall.

It all began with a sweeping change in state government. Republican Gov. Scott Walker assumed office in January and Republicans gained control of the state legislature, putting forward a budget aimed limiting the rising costs of public employee benefits, ending collective bargaining for all public workers except police and firefighters.

Democrats in the state legislature fled the state to avoid voting on the measure, while thousands of protestors on both sides of the issue gathered at the state capitol to protest or support Walker's move.
After Walker signed the legislation, Democrats began gathering signatures on petitions to recall the senators involved who were eligible had been in office more than a year.

Republicans responded by accusing Democrats of shirking their elected duties by literally running away from the vote.

Thanks to the well-funded recall efforts, enough signatures were gathered to target six Republicans and two Democrats.

If the Senate does change hands, Democrats could overturn Walker's legislation.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Mar282011

Ignoring Court Order, Wisconsin Governor Publishes Union-Busting Law

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(MADISON, Wis.) -- There's debate in Wisconsin about whether a law championed by Gov. Scott Walker to strip state and locals workers of most of their collective bargaining rights took effect Saturday.

Attempting to work around a court restraining order, Walker had the Legislative Reference Bureau publish the law online.  The governor contends it's now the law of Wisconsin because of its publication and that his "administration will carry out the law as required."

Union workers and Democrats aren't buying it and, as a result, there could be additional legal action ahead.  On March 18, a judge issued an injunction after hearing from the law's opponents that Republicans possibly violated Wisconsin's open meetings law when GOP state senators passed the union-busting statute.

Technically, the measure can't become law until it's signed by the secretary of state and published in the newspaper of record, the Wisconsin State Journal.  Neither has happened.

Walker may have overreached, since nothing in Wisconsin law about what makes a state law mentions anything about the Legislative Reference Bureau.  As of now, the Wisconsin Supreme Court hasn't talked about intervening in the matter.

The issue remains a hot potato in Wisconsin.  Republicans say the law is needed to bring down massive deficits, while Democrats say its true intention is to weaken union support for their party.´╗┐

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Mar132011

100,000 Protest Wisconsin Collective Bargaining Bill

Mark Hirsch/Getty Images(MADISON, Wisc.) -- In the largest demonstration yet, about 100,000 people protested in Wisconsin's capital this weekend against the recently-approved bill repressing union rights.

Gov. Scott Walker signed the bill on Friday, severely limiting collective bargaining rights.

The demonstration coincided with the return of the 14 Democratic state senators who left the state to prevent a voting quorum.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Mar092011

Wisc. Senate Votes to Strip Public Employees of Collective Bargaining Rights

Mark Hirsch/Getty Images(MADISON, Wisc.) -- In a 18-1 vote, the Wisconsin Senate Republicans approved a bill Wednesday night to strip public employees of collective bargaining rights. The vote took place with no Democrats present. 

By stripping the collective bargaining item from the budget repair bill, they could bypass the requirement for a quorum (20 senators).

The Senate's vote on the issue was put on hold three weeks ago when 14 Senate Democrats fled to Illinois to stop state lawmakers from passing the bill.

Governor Scott Walker is expected to sign the bill soon, which will no longer make it possible for public employees to negotiate benefits items such as pensions and group health care plans.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio´╗┐







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