Local union president: WI governor is "union bashing" - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

By Chris Conte

Local union president: WI governor is "union bashing"

ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC)-- Wisconsin's union-busting governor and fellow Republicans in the state legislature successfully pushed through a law Thursday that strips public workers of most collective bargaining rights, and now unions in Minnesota are concerned it could happen to them.

"It is literally taking their voice away," says Kit Hawkins, President of the Rochester Education Association.

Hawkins' union represents some 1,100 teachers in Rochester, 1,100 teachers who are now worried they too could be stripped of union rights if things spill over from Wisconsin.

"We have to stand up and support them in solidarity, we have to let people know that we're on the wrong path," Hawkins said Thursday afternoon.

But republicans in the badger state believe this is simply the best way of balancing the budget, Hawkins wonders though how stripping public employees of bargaining rights will fix anything.

"I don't understand why employers wouldn't want to include employees on the discussion about the work they do."

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