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Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker blasted Democratic state senators on Sunday for "walking out on their job" in an effort to thwart his attempts to rein in unions, saying the missing lawmakers should return to Madison if they want to participate in democracy.
A state Capitol thrown into political chaos swelled for a fifth day with nearly 70,000 protesters, as supporters of Republican efforts to scrap the union rights of state workers challenged pro-labor protesters face-to-face for the first time and GOP leaders insisted again Saturday there was no room for compromise.
Ohio taxpayers, like their colleagues in Wisconsin, know all too well about the high cost of generous defined-benefit pensions and other compensation deals struck by states, districts and affiliates of the National Education Association (NEA) and American Federation of Teachers (AFT). A 57-year-old Ohio teacher with 35 years of experience receives an annuity equal to as much as 88 percent of his final year's salary, along with guaranteed annual cost-of-living raises of 3 percent. It's why the average retired teacher in Ohio collected $54,784 in 2010, an amount 15 percent higher than the state's median household income.
Across the nation, public-sector unions realize the game is up, and they aren't happy about it. They're doing everything in their considerable power to stop newly elected governors and legislatures from doing what they were elected to do: bring state finances under control by revoking the union privileges that have strained state budgets for years. The question now is, "Who governs America?" If the unions win, the answer will no longer be "the people."
A dramatic week of angry protests over a bill in the Wisconsin Legislature that would radically limit collective bargaining for state employees came to a boil Thursday with 14 Democratic senators dodging a vote in the Republican-led chamber by fleeing the state and efforts by state police to track them down.
Police officers were dispatched Thursday to find Wisconsin state lawmakers who apparently had boycotted a vote on a sweeping bill that would strip most government workers of their collective bargaining rights.
The Obama administration is targeting a major segment of U.S. businesses nationwide, requiring as many as 1,000 employers to make available their employment records for review by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents as part of a newly reinstituted law enforcement initiative against illegal immigration.