The latest on the Wisconsin Right to Work bill and the surrounding union boss protests. Patrick Marley, Daniel Bice and Jason Stein have the story on jsonline.com.
In an abrupt vote recalling the chaotic labor protests of 2011, Republicans pushed so-called right-to-work legislation out of a committee Tuesday night after a day of impassioned testimony and demonstrations, setting up a showdown Wednesday afternoon on the Senate floor.
Republicans had planned to end public testimony at 7 p.m., but shortly before 6:30 p.m. committee chairman Sen. Steve Nass (R-Whitewater) said he was cutting off the meeting abruptly because of what Nass called a “credible threat” in a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel report. That story said union demonstrators were planning to peacefully disrupt the committee vote by raising their voices if Republicans didn’t let everyone from the public testify.
During the meeting, the source for the Journal Sentinel report, Bruce Colburn of the Service Employees International Union state council, stood up in the middle of the committee hearing and told Nass that there was no threat or need for concern. Colburn and AFSCME Council 48 Executive Director Boyd McCamish later told the Journal Sentinel that the newspaper’s report was accurate but that they disagreed with Nass’ contention that their plans constituted a “threat,” calling that argument a “sham.”
Union supporters reacted with disbelief and anger to the sudden vote, shouting, “Shame! Shame! Shame!” as police escorted Republican lawmakers from the hearing room. A spokesman for the Walker administration and Capitol Police said there was one arrest before the Capitol closed.