Late this afternoon the Wisconsin state Assembly passed Gov. Scott Walker’s union busting bill after a month of protest that has brought the cause of worker’s rights back to the attention of the middle class. The bill now heads to the Governor where he will sign it as soon as he can.
The final vote count was 53-42 and was not without its own controversy. First the Assembly session was delayed due to a “security” lockdown of the Capitol. Then debate on the measure was limited to only two hours despite the fact that this was a purportedly “new” bill.
Democrats showed up wearing specially printed orange T-shirts declaring their solidarity with labor and once the vote was over, went to join protesters in the street and Capitol rotunda.
The bill already faces legal challenge by both Dane County and Madison City officials for violations of the open records law as well as a likely constitutional challenge.
Meanwhile the protests only increased. Wisconsin firefighters withdrew their funds from M&I Bank, a major supporter of Gov. Walker’s and encouraged other protesters to do the same. The move was so effective the bank shut its doors during the day to prevent a run on the institution.
The movement now looks to local elections on April 5 and the recall efforts while the legal challenges sort themselves out. The possibility of a general strike also remains on the table.
Despite the actions today, this fight is far from over.
For more of our coverage of the labor battle in Wisconsin and elsewhere, click here.
photo courtesy of Brandon Bauer