Earlier today UW students met at the Capitol to protest a bill that would end the collective bargaining rights of Wisconsin State employees, effectively negating their union contract with the state. The bill includes measures that would require state employees to pay for half of the cost of their pensions and raise state employee health insurance premiums by a minimum of 12.6%. These increases will effectively equate to an 8% pay cut for the average state worker. Many of those who protested did so on behalf of worker’s rights as well as railing against what they feel are unfair increases and pay cuts. Perhaps what has been the most agitating is the blunt manner in which Gov. Walker has proposed these initiatives rather than negotiating with the State’s workers union. The bill has also come under fire from the AFL-CIO, Teamsters, and several private sector unions. Supporters of the bill point to the$137 million hole confronting the state for the coming year, while Gov. Walker has stated that 1,500 state workers would be laid off if the bill is not passed.
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