House Speaker John Boehner puts some fresh spin on the debate over public sector worker rights.
“In some of these states you’ve got collective bargaining laws that are so weighted in favor of the public employees that there’s almost no bargaining,” he told CBN. “We’ve given them a machine gun and put it right at the heads of the local officials and they really have their hands tied.”
What happened to Boehner here is a symptom a lot of politicians are noticing. As the weeks tick away since the Arizona shooting, they’re slipping back into modes of rhetoric they’d grown comfortable with over the last years. Of course, they’ll continually readjust and correct themselves for the next long interim, but they’re on the slow slide back to the status quo ante.
On to the merits of his argument. Republican state houses and legislatures across the country are participating in an organized effort to undermine public sector unions. One of the GOP’s arguments against allowing state and local workers to organize is that they provide services as part of government monopolies and therefore have outsize bargaining power.
That’s not the case in Wisconsin, where public workers have agreed to every financial concession asked of them, and are fighting simply to keep their organizing rights.
Brian Beutler is TPM's senior congressional reporter. Since 2009, he's led coverage of health care reform, Wall Street reform, taxes, the GOP budget, the government shutdown fight, and the debt limit fight. He can be reached at email@example.com.