Can the Union Bill Be Rolled Back?

Jun. 23, 2011
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Well, this should be interesting.

State Rep. Mark Pocan and state Sen. Fred Risser—both Democrats—have announced that they're drafting legislation that would roll back the horrible collective bargaining bill.

It won't go anywhere, of course, since Republicans want to bury the thing as quickly as possible. Sure, they'll tout the “tools” that they've given local elected officials. But they definitely don't want to take yet another vote to strip away unions' power. I mean, they'd rather kick the case up to their allies on the Supreme Court before they'd re-vote on the bill, you know?

Then again…

Democrats just may take back the state Senate this summer, thanks to the increasingly popular recalls against Republicans.

That means Democrats could introduce Pocan and Risser's bill in a Senate committee and finally give it a proper public hearing. And then they could force a vote on it in the state Senate, ensuring that members would have to go on record with their support or opposition, then send it over to the Assembly, where Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald would have to tangle with it again.

So their bill just may have some traction….

Here's the press release:

Pocan, Risser move to roll back union law changes
Legislation in drafting, will be released soon



Madison – State Representative Mark Pocan (D-Madison) and Senator Fred Risser (D-Madison) announced today they will introduce legislation that will roll back all the changes Republicans made to collective bargaining during Governor Walker's “budget repair” bill.

The legislation would repeal the anti-union provisions of Wisconsin Act 10, which essentially eliminated public employee unions as we know them. The bill includes provisions of how unions are certified, the collection of union dues and the ability to collectively bargain for working conditions. 

“The Republican attack on our public employees is the single most unpopular maneuver in modern Wisconsin political history,” said Pocan. “The economy is bad enough as it is. Our goal is to restore 50 years of labor peace in Wisconsin by rolling back Republican attacks on workers.”

While the bill is unlikely to advance in the current political climate, Pocan and Risser recognize that support amongst the general public helped fuel the most recall campaigns at any one time in Wisconsin history. Thus, the bill may see movement in the second half of this legislative session or future sessions.

“I helped implement collective bargaining in the 1959 legislative session and it has worked, resulting in over 50 years of labor peace in Wisconsin,” said Risser. “What Republicans did was unprecedented, spiteful and contrary to our Wisconsin values.”

Pocan and Risser both expressed interest in healing Wisconsin and moving the state forward, focusing on improving the economy and working conditions for all employees in Wisconsin, both public and private.

The legislators project the bill draft will be complete in the coming weeks and will release it publicly as soon as it is available.    

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