Wisconsin Assembly passes bill stripping union rights

Wisconsin Democrats fled the state to prevent vote for the passing of the new bill, which aims to strip down unions’ collective bargaining rights; while the Republican-controlled Assembly urged their Senate counterpart to work on the bill.

Republicans in the Wisconsin Assembly on Friday passed the new bill seeking the removal of union rights, while sleep-deprived Democrats fled to prevent a vote on the measure at the Senate.

The new measure being pushed by Governor Scott Walker was the first significant blow to public union groups, who are now facing the removal of their bargaining rights.

But despite the result of the vote, which ended three straight days of debate in the Assembly, a resolution is still far from over as monumental protests from public workers are being readied at the state capitol.

Prior to the passing of the bill, minority Democrats at the Assembly fled to Illinois on Thursday to prevent a vote for the passing of the bill.

State troopers were sent out by the Republican-controlled chamber but failed to summon the “missing” officials.

Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald, R-Horicon, applauded his Democrat counterparts for earnestly debating the bill, urging the state Senate to return to work and do the same.

Gov. Walkers aims to pass the bill immediately, citing “beneficial” provisions that are designed to fill the state’s $137 million deficit and to trim down the projected $3.6 billion shortfall in its 2011-2013 budget.

Under the legislation, public workers will be required to contribute more to the health insurance and pensions, as well as stripping their right to collectively bargain working conditions and benefits.

Democrats and unions view this measure as “an attack on workers’ rights and an attempt to cripple their support for the Democrats – despite appeals by union leaders to stay their bargaining rights, Gov. Walker refused to compromise.

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