Wisconsin public employees unions were not able to stop Governor Walker’s plan to remove benefits from the items subject to collective bargaining. The unions first persuaded Wisconsin state senators to flee to Illinois, so that a quorum could not be formed to conduct business on that issue in the Wisconsin legislature. Then these unions thronged Madison, trying to intimidate Republican state legislators; these legislators, however, refused to be intimidated. State Supreme Court elections, which once were pro forma referenda on the ethics and competence of justices, was transformed into an ideological policy issue in which Judge Prosser was targeted for elimination because it was felt that he would uphold the constitutionality of Walker’s reforms; that failed too. Finally, public employees unions tried to recall enough Republican state senators to tip control of the state senate back to Democrats; that failed too.
Ironically, the impact of the governor’s reform, which was intended to preserve teachers’ jobs by reducing the cost of teacher positions, has been positive. Nevertheless, many Wisconsin teachers according, to the Associated Press, have decided to retire — twice as many as in a typical year. Ginny Fleck, a 69-year-old German teacher in Green Bay, explained her choice:
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