Missouri-based Associated Press reporter David Lieb co-wrote an article today on how the GOP is battling unions in state capitols. The story was linked on the Drudge Report, the ever-popular news aggregation site:
Republicans who swept into power in state capitols this year with promises to cut spending and bolster the business climate now are beginning to usher in a new era of labor relations that could result in the largest reduction of power in decades for public employee unions.
But as massive public protests and legislative boycotts in Wisconsin this week have shown, the Republican charge can be fraught with risk and unpredictable turns as politicians try to transform campaign ideas into action.
The question GOP governors and lawmakers are now facing is exactly how far they can go without encountering a backlash. Do they merely extract more money from school teachers, prison guards and office workers to help ease their states’ budget problems? Or do they go at the very core of union power by abolishing the workers’ right to bargain collectively? Do they try to impose changes by steamrolling the opposition, or by coming to the bargaining table?
“The consequences will be rolling forth for many, many years,” said James Gregory, director of Center for Labor Studies at the University of Washington. “The battle lines have been drawn and will be replicated around the country. This is going to be very tough for unions and public sector employees.”