Wisconsin Gov. Walker Signs Union Limits Into Law, Pokes Labor In Eye

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker,   March 7, 2011. i

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, March 7, 2011. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker,   March 7, 2011.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, March 7, 2011.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker signed into law Friday morning legislation which greatly restricts collective bargaining by the unions that represent the state's public employees.

The governor's signing brought to a close a raucous chapter in Wisconsin's modern political history which pitted the state's Republican chief executive and GOP leaders of the statehouse and those voters supporting them against the legislature's Democratic minority, organized labor and many other voters.

He tweeted:

At 9:30am I signed the budget repair bill to save jobs, balance the budget, help taxpayers, and reform gov't.

In another Walker tweet, the governor appeared to be poking labor officials in the eye:

The budget repair allows us to save 1500 state jobs. I notified the unions of the good news this AM.

In another tweet, Walker noted that Friday's Japan earthquake gave "perspective to Wisconsin political battles.

Walker also made the rounds of the morning shows, appearing on CNBC's Squawkbox and MSNBC's Morning Joe.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that Walker planned to have some type of ceremony and news conference later Friday.

The news organization also reported that it was unclear what the Senate Democrats who fled to Illinois were planning to do.

An excerpt:

Walker sent his directive to the state Department of Administration and the office of State Employment Relations.

In his directive, Walker issued a statement:

"The Legislature helped us save 1,500 middle-class jobs by moving forward this week with the budget repair. The state will now be able to realize $30 million in savings to balance the budget and allow 1,500 state employees to keep their jobs. The reforms contained in this legislation, which require modest health care and pension contributions from all public employees, will help put Wisconsin on a path to fiscal sustainability.

"While tough budget choices certainly still lie ahead, both state and local units of government will not have to do any mass layoffs or direct service reductions because of the reforms contained in the budget repair bill. Moving forward the hard-working, professional public sector employees who show up to work every day and do an excellent job will help ensure Wisconsin has a business climate that allows the private sector to create 250,000 new jobs."

The State Capitol, meanwhile, opened for business at 8 a.m. Friday, with relatively few protesters in attendance. It was unclear when Senate Democrats, who had been staying away in Illinois, would return, or whether some of they had returned to Wisconsin.

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