Wisconsin state senate Republicans used a legislative loophole Wednesday night (March 9) to allow them to pass a controversial anti-union measure without absent Democrats, who had fled the state in an effort to prevent the vote. The bill denying collective bargaining provisions for most public employees passed on an 18-1 vote, despite protests in the Wisconsin capital, Madison, and elsewhere since mid-February. U.S. News & World Report estimated around 7,000 activists protested the surprise action outside the capitol building.
The issues raised by the situation in Wisconsin are of concern to United Methodists. The Social Creed states: "We believe in the right and duty of persons to work for the glory of God and the good of themselves and others and in the protection of their welfare in so doing; in the rights to property as a trust from God, collective bargaining, and responsible consumption; and in the elimination of economic and social distress."
The Rev. Anne Dilenschneider, a spirituality and leadership consultant and retired elder in the California-Nevada Annual Conference, reports that there are opportunities for activism on behalf of Wisconsin public employees through the United Church of Christ at http://www.ucc.org/justice/worker-justice/unions/.