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Anti-Labor Vote Shocks Wisconsin

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TEHRAN, March 10 (ICANA) – Republican lawmakers in the Wisconsin Senate have approved Governor Scott Walker's plan to curb the rights of public sector unions, prompting protesters to storm the state capitol.
Thursday, March 10, 2011 10:03:28 AM
Anti-Labor Vote Shocks Wisconsin

In a hastily-arranged special conference committee, Republicans voted 18 to 1 for restrictions on collective bargaining by public employees that Walker has insisted are needed to help the state's cash-strapped municipalities deal with a projected $1.27 billion drop in state aid over the next two years, Reuters reported.

The lawmakers stripped out the parts that required the presence of their 14 absent Democratic colleagues.

The measure will now go to the Republican-controlled state assembly, which is expected to vote on the matter on Thursday.

News of the vote drew angry shouts from the protesters outside the chamber. The protesters were trying to force their way inside as police pushed back from the building doors.

Senators then left the chamber under police escort.

Governor Walker has insisted throughout the weeks-long battle that the only way to close the state's gaping budget deficit was to eliminate collective bargaining rights so that public workers cannot fight pay and benefit cuts.

He began sending layoff notices to 1,500 state workers last week and has ordered the state police to arrest the 14 Democratic senators who fled to Illinois on February 17 to help prevent the passage of the bill.

His proposal, however, has sparked a major confrontation with organized labor and the largest protests in Wisconsin since the Vietnam War.

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