Union Showdown Spreads

Wisconsin's face-off between public employee unions and the governor has reached other Midwestern states with similar tough-talking Republican governors and a history of strong unions. Michigan, Ohio and Indiana are all bracing for labor protests aimed at proposals to weaken the clout of unions. Meanwhile, after eight days of protests, Wisconsin's Democratic senators remain on the lam, blocking passage of Gov. Scott Walker's initiative to end collective bargaining rights for almost all public employees. The GOP-dominated senate is considering a vote on a bill requiring voters to show ID at the polls as a way to lure Democrats back into the state, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.

In Indiana, a proposal to abolish the requirement that private-sector workers who are represented by a union pay union dues cleared a House committee Monday, drawing protesters to the state capitol and leading some Democrats to consider emulating their Wisconsin colleagues and fleeing the state to deny the Republicans a quorum, according to The Wall Street Journal .

In Columbus, about 3,500 protesters converged on the state capitol in Columbus Monday to decry a bill that would limit the collective-bargaining rights of state workers. They were met by about 200 Tea Party counter-protesters, according to The Columbus Dispatch . Former Gov. Ted Strickland showed up to rally the crowd against Gov. John Kasich, who defeated him last November.

And in Michigan, hundreds of demonstrators are expected in Lansing to protest Gov. Rick Snyder's proposed budget cuts and proposals to end the state's prevailing wage law and binding arbitration for public safety employees, The Detroit News reports. On Wednesday, about a thousand people are expected to protest a plan to allow emergency financial managers to undo collective bargaining agreements.

Republicans say unions have pushed for pay and benefit deals that states can no longer afford as they try to balance recession-scarred budgets. Union organizers counter that the new GOP governors and lawmakers are using the budget as an excuse to wage an ideological battle against labor.

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