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The reason we are currently having a debate over the rights of public sector workers and their unions is because conservatives across the country are trying to leverage the budget problems that many states currently face to attack a political opponent and further weaken unions. Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin is leading the charge, but a similar dynamic is playing out in Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Idaho, and Tennessee—to name a few—where conservatives are pushing bills to strip workers’ rights to bargain collectively.
Walker and others may claim their concerns are fiscal. But his proposal and similar attempts are hard to read as anything but politics. His proposal, for example, doesn’t touch the tax cuts he just passed, which added over $100 million to Wisconsin’s projected budget deficit. And his proposal would only strip collective bargaining rights from some workers. It exempts firefighters and police officers, whose unions supported his campaign for governor.
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