States Push to Neuter Unions

Republicans especially eager to curb public worker benefits
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 4, 2011 11:19 AM CST
States Push to Neuter Unions
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie describes his pension and health benefits reforms, which would teachers, police and others more money, at a town meeting, Sept. 14, 2010, in Gloucester, NJ.   (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

With big budget deficits staring them in the face, states around the country are looking for ways to crack down on unions in general, and public employees unions especially, the New York Times reports. Officials from both parties are getting in on the act—Andrew Cuomo, for example, is expected to call for a one-year state wage freeze—but Republicans are being especially aggressive. One new GOP governor, Scott Walker of Wisconsin, wants to ban state worker unions entirely.

“We can no longer live in a society where the public employees are the haves and taxpayers who foot the bills are the have-nots,” Walker said in a recent speech. Other Republicans have proposed laws preventing private unions from collecting dues—which would conveniently limit their funds ... and political spending power. “I see this as payback for the role we played in the 2010 election,” said the president of a major state employees union. “Now there’s a bull’s-eye on our back, and they’re out to inflict pain.” (More labor unions stories.)

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