Wisconsin’s capital Madison was besieged by protesters this week as tens of thousands of state workers demonstrated against a Republican spending bill. Here is what Republican Gov. Scott Walker has proposed:
* State workers must increase contributions to their pensions to 5.8 percent of salary, and double contributions to their health insurance premiums to 12.6 percent. This would result in a cut in take-home pay of about 8 percent.
* Walker wants to limit collective bargaining to the issue of wages, and cap wage increases to the rate of inflation, with a voter referendum needed for larger increases.
* Walker’s proposal would also prohibit employer collection of union dues and members of collective bargaining units would not be required to pay dues. Contracts would be limited to one year, and collective bargaining units would have to take annual votes to maintain certification as a union.
* Walker said collective bargaining takes too long and the cuts need to be made immediately. He said the alternative is layoffs of more than 10,000 workers.
* Certain employees, including local law enforcement and fire employees, would be exempt from the collective bargaining changes.
Reporting by Jeff Mayers; Writing by Mary Wisniewski; Editing by Greg McCune