The Wisconsin Bill: What Does It Do?

News coverage of the dramatic events we have witnessed in Wisconsin over the past week has typically been heavy on generalities–Governor Walker and the Republicans in Wisconsin’s legislature are pushing legislation that is “anti-union” or will “limit the public sector unions’ collective bargaining powers”–but short on details. Tim Phillips of Americans For Prosperity sends this handy summary of the Republican legislation:

Here’s what Governor Walker’s Budget Repair Bill that they’re so angry about actually does:
– Ask government workers to pay half the cost of their pensions – still less than private employees pay for their pensions
– Ask government workers to pay 12% of their own health insurance premiums – the national average for the private sector is over 20%
– End collective bargaining for government unions for pensions and benefits. Allow bargaining only for raises that are less than inflation.
– End forced union dues, collected by the state. Union dues would become voluntary.
– Union members get to vote yearly on whether to keep their union.

Are those significant reforms? Absolutely. Hence the desperation on the Left to frustrate them. But in talking about what is at stake, it is helpful to be concrete about what the legislation would actually do.

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