Police locked down the state Capitol in Madison today as thousands of protesters mobbed the building for a final vote on legislation that will sharply limit the power of Wisconsin’s employee unions.The crowds prevented some lawmakers from making it into the chamber for the state Assembly’s vote on the measure, the Washington Post reports. Police carried out about 50 protesters and ordered a temporary lockdown of the building.
The Assembly approved the bill, which would take away most collective bargaining rights for public employees, and prevent unions from requiring members to pay dues. Under the law, the state would no longer deduct union dues from employee paychecks.
The vote ends a political standoff between Republican Gov. Scott Walker and union supporters, who have camped out at the statehouse for three weeks to protest the bill. Republican Senators broke the stalemate last night, using a legislative manoeuvre to pass the bill without any Senate Democrats, who fled the state last month to prevent a vote.
Democrats decried the move and pledged to launch recall campaigns against eligible Republican state senators, as well as Gov. Walker when he becomes eligible next year.