Ultimatum

WI Gov. Threatens Mass Layoffs

Things in Madison, WI are nasty. Gov. Scott Walker threatened to lay off as many as 12,000 state and local workers if lawmakers don’t pass his bill stripping them of most of their collective bargaining rights. As long as the state’s 14 Democratic senators remain out of state, the bill can’t be passed. Walker visited three of the missing senators’ districts, telling reporters that "Now is the time to come home and vote,” and threatening to continue with reductions in aid to local governments and other cuts if they don’t return and pass the bill. Thousands of protesters continue to camp out in the statehouse, while union leaders have taken out last-minute television spots saying that they’ve already agreed to concessions that would close the state’s $137 million deficit, and that Walker’s bill is a purely political to gut unions. Similar rallies have sprung up in states like Ohio and Indiana, where unions are also facing challenges, and in other states out of solidarity.