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How Much Power And Influence Do Unions Have? -INFOGRAPHIC

Kelsey Richards |
February 24, 2011 | 5:15 p.m. PST

Graphics Artist

In Wisconsin, Gov. Scott Walker has sought to weaken the power and influence of the state's public employee unions. A budget bill he has proposed would:

  • prohibit unions from collectively bargaining anything beyond salaries (meaning no bargaining for pension and heath care benefits)
  • forbid unions from receiving pay increases beyond the rise in the Consumer Price Index unless a majority of state voters okay a larger raise,
  • prevent unions from forcing employees to pay dues,
  • require the unions to hold annual votes to reaffirm their organization as a union,
  • force union members to pay a higher share of pension and health care costs (the average rise would be 8 percent).

The only groups that would be excluded from these provisions are police, firefighters and other public safety workers. The bill has passed the State Assembly. The State Senate can't vote on it until at least one of 14 Senate Democrats that have been hiding out in Illinois return to the Legislature.

Many conservatives argue that collectively bargained contracts with state workers strangle state budgets. Unions are typically large contributors to the campaigns of Democrats. By reducing their operating capacities, Gov. Walker and his supporters say the state could hold unions in check. The debate over unions begs the question how much do they factor in to the political process?

Infographic examining how unions monetarily influence political campaigns (by Kelsey Richards)
Infographic examining how unions monetarily influence political campaigns (by Kelsey Richards)


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 Reach artist Kelsey Richards here.

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