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The South Central Federation of labour, an umbrella organisation representing more than 45,000 workers in Wisconsin, voted last night to endorse a general strike if the state legislature passes Gov. Scott Walker’s budget repair bill, the Wisconsin State Journal reports. About 100 delegates of the 97-union federation voted unanimously in favour of the strike, and called for the group to start educating its members and affiliates on the “organisation and function of a general strike.” There were no details available about how the strike would work or how many workers would take part.
About 68,000 people came out Saturday to protest the bill, which would strip public employee unions of most collective bargaining rights. Protests are now entering a second week but were smaller today as most teachers returned to work.
Wisconsin’s Senate Democrats have not returned to the state from their hideout in Illinois, leaving Republicans to try to lure them back by moving forward on other legislation. Republicans have enough members to be able to vote on measures that don’t spend money, but 20 senators must be present for a vote on spending bills.
So far, there is no prospect of a resolution to the stalemate over Walker’s bill. The Governor, who said Monday that he will not negotiate over the bill, plans to address voters during a “fireside chat” tonight, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
The emergency budget repair bill, which includes $165 million in bond refinancing, must be passed by Friday to make sure the state can pay its bills in the 2011 fiscal year. Walker said Tuesday that 1,500 people could lose their jobs by July if the legislation is not passed.
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