Democratic lawmakers leave Wisconsin to protest union curbs

By Reuters
Thursday, February 17, 2011 16:08 EDT
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MADISON, Wisconsin (Reuters) – Wisconsin state Senate Democrats boycotting a vote on a plan to curb the union rights of public employees left the state on Thursday in an attempt to force majority Republicans to negotiate a compromise, an online political news service said.

Democrat Sen. Jon Erpenbach told WisPolitics that he believed all 14 Senate Democrats were out of the state by early Thursday afternoon. There are 19 Senate Republicans, and a quorum of 20 is needed to vote on the issue.

Erpenbach would not disclose where he was or how many of the Democratic senators were with him.

“We were left with no choice,” Erpenbach said. Erpenbach would not say how long they were prepared to remain outside Wisconsin.

“The question is when are the Republicans going to sit down seriously with the other side on this issue and try to work something out,” Erpenbach told WisPolitics. “When are we going to be reasonable about this and slow things down?”

“This isn’t anything that we do lightly at all,” Erpenbach said. “This isn’t a prank. This isn’t a joke. This is Democrats standing together saying slow down.”

Republican Gov. Scott Walker has proposed sharply curbing the bargaining rights of public unions in order to make budget savings. The proposal was to be debated and possibly come to a vote in the state Senate on Thursday. Republicans hold a majority of both the Senate and the state House of Representatives.

(Reporting by Jeff Mayers, Writing by Mary Wisniewski, Editing by Greg McCune)

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  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Thomas-Lee-Brown/1522418996 Thomas Lee Brown

    Any guesses on how long it’ll take Fox Liars Inc. to claim that Republicans have never done this?

  • Anonymous

    Oh nooooo. The Muslim Brotherhood has infiltrated the USA. Not true, but that doesn’t stop Fox and the nutjobs.

  • Anonymous

    It’s time for America and in particular the public employees of Wisconsin to follow the lead of the Egyptians and demand the ouster of the top dog, Scott Walker. Compromise should be off the table at this point. The people should shut down the state, get his resignation, and then prosecute him for the amount of damage Walker did to the state, but that still shouldn’t be enough because Americans should go further and demand the ouster of the entire criminal syndicate that runs this country, and if you ask me, the same people have been running this country for more than 221 years.

  • Anonymous

    Anyone who says that unions are greedy or taking too much of the pie are either banksters or maroons.
    After the financial sector’s rip-off the the american taxpayer, we are gonna blame unions?
    I have seen this meme….do not fall for it.
    The MSM is going here…stay alert.

  • Anonymous

    There are just too many chickenshits in this country who will never support what you advocate.

    And they are, just CHICKENSHITS!

    When I was president of my union I advocated taking certain counter measures to combat the company crap that was coming down the pike and what did my union membership do but vote me down. And what happened to them? Exactly what I said was going to happen: people got screwed and fired. Then they came to me demanding that I do something. I did, I quit my job and opened my own business.

  • yvonneo

    And it’s worth mentioning that the firefighters in WI (even though they’re not threatened by Walker’s BS), are right out there standing with the rest of the protesters. I bet it’s a proud day for many Wisconsinites. And repub governors across the nation are all planning on doing what Walker’s attempting to do–it’s all a coordinated republican plan to eliminate Unions (although, in Walker’s case this so-called crisis is contrived–a deception). But maybe that’s what it will take to spark major protests everywhere.

  • Anonymous

    Oh? When did the same people start running the show?

  • Anonymous

    We are picking up steam. Hold on.

    Here are some addresses for the AFL-CIO in Wisconsin. I was directed to this address to donate to the cause:

    Contact Information:

    Wisconsin State AFL-CIO

    6333 W. Bluemound Road
    Milwaukee, WI 53213

    Phone: 414-771-0700
    Email: solidarity@wisaflcio.org

    Organize, organize, organize.

  • Anonymous

    I am so sick of the republicans always trying to destroy our country. Did they just once think that they were voted into office to represent all the people? Not just the rich ones and not just the republicans. I understand the gop feel a win for the party trumps all else even if it means the country fails. Why can’t the damn republicans, just for once, do the right thing? That is doing the right thing for their state and their country!

  • Anonymous

    Rise up and fight back these gangsters of politics American people. We’re tired of having our jobs sent to China, India and Mexico. We’re tired of getting laid off while the CEO gets 25 million dollar bonuses. We’re tired of being lied to. We’re tired of having to accept a lower standard of living. We’re tired of having our safety nets dismantled so the rich can get their tax cuts. We’re tired of paying more taxes than oil companies. And we’re tired of the wall street and rich folks ripping us off,.

  • Anonymous

    Yaaaaahhhhhhh! You go Dems!!!!! I hope this is the moment in time that changes our country! We need to take to the streets and demand control of our country be given back to the people and away from the damn wealthy elite!! You go Unions!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You go teachers!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You go Democrats!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_TF72KWIG5DGSPE3ZXDK6FX4KTQ Robert Burned

    I wish good luck to the tens of thousands. May they grow to hundreds of thousands.

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/FPBFO6RC5R2HHIP3VXSFU2RZQA mjj

    Where is the AFL-CIO? They should be calling for nationwide strikes in all sectors of the economy. Don’t they realize this is a war we are engaged in? They are doing the same thing in Idaho , Ohio and New Jersey. The president is also AWOL on this.

  • http://twitter.com/MrEthiopian ed smith

    bought time the spineless democrats use the same tactics as the republicans have been using to blockade the democrats for the last 4 years. I’m sure the rotten republicans will call foul, if the democrats want any chance in 2012 they need to hold their ground and through it back in the republicans faces.

    Hold your ground and fight!

  • Anonymous

    I wouldn’t want to be Paul Ryan when he goes home to face the rioters.. er..people of his state. They’re not going to forget what he called them on national T.V.

  • Anonymous

    Just finished watching Ed Schultz. Super show tonight! I love the guy. He’s a fighter for the common worker. I’m a Union member and there are areas that need to be adjusted but that can be done with honest bargaining. This Governor thinks he’s a dictator. Democrats and workers unite or get ground down by the Rushthuglicons & corporations led by the likes of the Koch brothers. If Citizens United is not overturned we can kiss democracy goodbye.

  • Anonymous

    Exactly right!

  • Anonymous

    Have the wealthy taken a hit on their income? Are there more wealthy unemployed? I didn’t think so. Tax them like the 1960s and if they don’t like it, tell them they can live overseas.

  • Anonymous

    Did anyone have any doubts as to what the republican agenda would be once they assumed power?I certainly had no doubts.My father(he was an organizer for the United Mine Workers during the bad years)”used to tell me “the worst democrat you can have representing you as a working man is better than the best republican”.By the looks of it his words were very profound!!!

  • Anonymous

    I’m from a working class family,and me and my friends and family are ready to rock and roll.Let’s just do it.Wisconsin is leading the charge.We need to show the Egyptians,and the world that we also have balls!!!!

  • Anonymous

    When I talked to him (Sen. Jon Erpenbach) I said “get outta town!”. I guess he took me literally. :)

    I’m proud of my senator and told him so. I wish we had more like him!