Recently elected governor of Wisconsin, Scott Walker, acknowledged preparing the Wisconsin National Guard to respond to the possibility of disorder among state employees. The announcement came one day after Wisconsin Democrats accused the Republican governor of “declaring war” on public employees’ unions by attempting to sharply limit their collective bargaining rights.
Gov. Walker has called for a set of austerity measures ostensibly designed to shore up the state’s finances by cutting public workers’ benefits, by capping annual pay increases, and by eliminating their legal right to bargain over anything except wages. Walker’s plan has been submitted to the state legislature, which may act on it this coming week.
According to the AFL-CIO, the National Guard hasn’t been deployed in a public employee labor dispute since the 1968 sanitation workers strike in Memphis and hasn’t been used against labor in Wisconsin since 1934.
The drama in Wisconsin is merely one front of a national campaign against public sector unionism being waged in state houses across the nation, including ongoing political battles in Ohio and New York.