Wisconsin’s Radical Break
nytimes.com — NOW that a Wisconsin judge has temporarily blocked a state law that would strip public employee unions of most collective bargaining rights, it’s worth stepping back to place these events in larger historical context. Republicans in Wisconsin are seeking to reverse civic traditions that for more than a century have been among the most celebrated achievements not just of their state, but of their own party as well. Wisconsin was at the forefront of the progressive reform movement in the early 20th century, when the policies of Gov. Robert M. La Follette prompted a fellow Republican, Theodore Roosevelt, to call the state a “laboratory of democracy.” The state pioneered many social reforms: It was the first to introduce workers’ compensation, in 1911; unemployment insurance, in 1932; and public employee bargaining, in 1959.