The Latest from Wisconsin


If you scan the front pages of major news websites this morning, you might not know that anything happened in Wisconsin last night.

The MSNBC website has a small piece low on the right column titled “Wis. Senate OKs anti-union bill with no Dems present.” At the NY Times, you have to scroll down to find this headline: “Wisconsin Assembly Set to Approve Limits on Union Bargaining,” which completely skips the legislative legerdemain that Wisconsin Republicans wove last night. CNN does something similar with their headline, but at least their story is top-left alongside Rep. Peter King’s anti-Muslim hearings. The LA Times is a little better, but the best major front page coverage so far today is from the Washington Post. My point here is that this is a major story with national implications and very few of the national news organizations are treating it as such.

If you want a pretty solid rundown of what actually happened last night, Ezra Klein has it for you.

There’s talk of a general strike in Wisconsin, and protesters are back in the Capitol. Public sector employees are forbidden by law to strike, but they may feel it’s their only option to respond, assuming this legislation stands.

In fact, the new bill makes it even tougher for unions to organize work stoppages.

And it might not. There’s a real chance the committee vote was in violation of Wisconsin’s open meeting laws.

Naomi Klein discusses Wisconsin through the frame of The Shock Doctrine, and if you haven’t read her book yet, you really should.

Brian Spears is Senior Poetry Editor of The Rumpus and the author of A Witness in Exile (Louisiana Literature Press, 2011). His poem “Upon Reading That Andromeda Will One Day Devour Triangulum and Come For Us Next” was featured in Season 9 of Motion Poems. More from this author →