Battle of Madison shows they’re no longer sympathetic
How will the Battle of Madison, the still-escalating fight between government unions and Wisconsin’s Republican Gov. Scott Walker, play out?.....Hard to say, as tens of thousands of union protesters on Saturday were met with Tea Party counter demonstrators. Police were bracing for 50,000 people, a crowd unseen in Madison since the Vietnam War.
What is clear is that there’s no going back. Walker has awakened the sleeping dog that both parties had let lie for decades, demanding that state workers start paying something, 5%, toward their pensions and that they double to 12% the share of health premiums they pay.....Walker Friday pointed out that this was no surprise: He’d proposed such a move all through his campaign. “If anyone doesn’t know what’s coming, they’ve been asleep the past two years,” he said.
Unions and the Legislature’s minority Democrats dismissed the idea as unthinkable even as Walker pointed out that 12% was half what private sector workers usually pay. He warned before his inauguration that he was willing to change laws, if necessary.....On Feb. 10, he fleshed that out, asking the Legislature to leave public-sector unions the power to bargain wages — and nothing else. Benefits and work rules would be off the table to give cities and school districts “the tools,” he said, to cut labor costs.
Unions erupted. The protests, the teacher sick-outs that closed dozens of school districts, the signs portraying Walker as Hitler — all ensued and grew all last week.