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From: The Socialist issue 662, 16 March 2011: Defend jobs and services: Protest 26 March

Search site for keywords: Occupation - Wisconsin - US - Public sector - USA - Public sector trade unions

Wisconsin occupation

On 11 February Scott Walker, US Republican state governor of Wisconsin, proposed the introduction of an anti-trade union bill.

The bill's measures will strip public sector trade unions of their collective bargaining rights over non-wage issues, force unions to win annual votes if they are to retain any status at all in public sector workplaces and to end the payment of union dues from workers' wages.

These proposals sparked off an enormous pro-workers movement in Wisconsin and solidarity actions throughout the US.

On 9 March, Walker and the Republican Senate used an illegal manoeuvre to push through his bill, without the return of the 14 Senate Democrats (who, for three weeks, had absented themselves from the legislature to prevent its passage).

Workers' resistance has been incredible, with another occupation of the state Capitol building and a mass student walkout on 10 March, in protest at this illegal move. The occupation temporarily prevented the bill from going to the state assembly for a vote.

Socialist Alternative (the Socialist Party's counterpart in the USA) is actively campaigning for urgent preparation for general strikes and other actions to escalate the struggle until Walker backs down.

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The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

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The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

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Article dated 16 March 2011

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