Jo Mannies at the St. Louis Beacon filed a story Thursday asking whether the hubbub in Wisconsin could occur in the Show Me State.
From the article:
The situation in Missouri is much different than Wisconsin’s. From a practical standpoint, Missouri does not allow collective-bargaining for public employees like teachers and firefighters. Another difference: Teachers, firefighters and police in Missouri have separate pension agreements with school districts and local governments that don’t count on any financial contributions from the state government.
The other big difference between Missouri and Wisconsin? Missouri has a Democratic governor who has no desire to challenge the state’s unions because they are likely to be key in Gov. Jay Nixon’s quest for re-election in 2012.
Mannies also writes that a situation similar to what Wisconsin Democratic senators did is unlikely to happen in Missouri:
But all sides agree that’s also not likely to happen in Missouri. Aside from the lack of collective bargaining rights for teachers, Republicans hold such majorities in Missouri’s state House and Senate that they can conduct business without any Democrats present.
A spokeswoman for Missouri Senate President Pro Tem Rob Mayer, R-Dexter, said that the state also has tougher rules regarding absent senators. “According to Senate Rule 8, senators absent without excuse may be taken into custody wherever they may be found,” she said. “Plus, the absent senator(s) would foot the expense for the effort to find and return them to the Senate.”
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.”