CNY Officials Keeping An Eye On Wisconsin

By Erin Kelly, Contributing Writer
OSWEGO, NY – The Wisconsin state government is trying to pass a bill which would eliminate unions’ rights to collective bargaining, a way in which employers and employees negotiate wages, benefits and safety conditions.

While this is putting pressure on other states, such as Ohio and Indiana, the impact it will have on CNY is uncertain for now.

What exactly is going on in Wisconsin?

Jeffrey Stonecash a Maxwell professor of Political Science at Syracuse University gave a brief summary of the recent events in Wisconsin.

He explained that the governor of Wisconsin announced in order to make up the $3.6 billion deficit unions would have to pay more on pension plans, pay more for health insurance and eliminate collective bargaining.

The unions agreed to the first two options but are opposed to eliminating collective bargaining.

The Republicans, who control most of the government in Wisconsin, at this point needed one Democrat to be present at the capital of Wisconsin to pass this law through.

The Democrats however disagreed with the Republicans and have decided to protest by walking out of the capital in support of the unions since February.

Just recently, according to The Journal Sentinel in Wisconsin, Judge Maryann Sumi issued a temporary restraining order to stop this bill from going through.

The Republicans will appeal the temporary restraining order as soon as possible.

Stonecash said this could also impact CNY. However, he added that although New York State in general is too liberal and controlled by Democrats, this could put more pressure to raise health care benefits.

Barry Leemann, chair of the Oswego County Legislature, agreed with this scenario.

“Yes, I don’t know how it will affect us, but contracts are coming up and unfortunately public employees will be affected just like it has affected the private sector.”

Leemann went on to say this couldn’t come at a worse time since most people in the public sector are having problems paying taxes and living expenses.